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Soldiers take over Zimbabwe's national broadcaster; gunfire heard

15 November 2017, 11:45 | Devin Moran

Chaos erupts in Zimbabwe's capital amid growing political unrest and rumors of a coup

Zimbabwe crisis Presidential seat of power cordoned off as UK US react to military takeover

Zimbabwe's army said Wednesday it has President Robert Mugabe and his wife in custody and is securing government offices and patrolling the capital's streets following a night of unrest that included a military takeover of the state broadcaster.

There were reports of multiple explosions in the city and a heavy presence of armed soldiers in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time.

The leader of Zimbabwe's influential liberation war veterans called Wednesday for South Africa, southern Africa and the West to re-engage with Zimbabwe after the military seized power from 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

The military added that Mugabe and his family were "safe and sound and their security is guaranteed".

In the army's overnight broadcast, the spokesman, Gen. Sibusiso Moyo, said the military expected "normalcy" to return as soon as the army had completed its "mission".

ZANU-PF responded by accusing the commander of "treasonable conduct meant to disturb national peace and incite insurrection".

Soldiers stand beside military vehicles just outside Harare, Zimbabwe Nov. 14, 2017.

"We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice", he said. The house of President Mugabe has also been occupied by the military.




Chiwenga's unprecedented statement represented a major escalation of the struggle to succeed Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe has known since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

The President's wife, Grace Mugabe, is a key player in the unfolding political crisis.

But the action was believed to have been triggered by Mugabe's sacking last week of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, seen by many as paving the way for his wife Grace to be made his deputy.

Soldiers deployed across the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Tuesday and seized the state broadcaster after Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party accused the head of the military of treason, prompting frenzied speculation of a coup.

The general was talking about a recent shuffle in the party.

He says it is important to remember that Mr Mugabe is not being challenged by the Western governments he has warned against for decades, or by Zimbabwe's political opposition, or by a mass uprising against economic hardship. Grace Mugabe, 52, has support in the party's youth wing and is believed to have engineered the firing of another vice president, Joice Mujuru, in 2014. "It's a question of the military taking over by using the force they have".

President Mugabe has exerted nearly total authority over Zimbabwean politics for decades - but the sacking of his most senior long-time confidant "has laid bare the rivalries inside Zimbabwe's political establishment" and could spark repercussions beyond his control, says the Daily Mail.



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