FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend a rally to mark the country’s 37th independence anniversary in Harare

Zimbabwe Army Takes Over Power, Denies It’s a Coup

Zimbabwe’s military has seized state TV, saying it is targeting people close to President Robert Mugabe for causing “social and economic suffering”.

A statement read out by a general on air denied it was a coup and said Mr Mugabe was safe, but did not say where.

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces will guarantee the safety of Mugabe, 93, and his family and is 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,” Major-General Sibusiso Moyo said in a televised address in Harare, the capital. All military leave has been canceled, he said. Mugabe is preparing to step down, Johannesburg-based News24 reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.

Denying that the action was a military coup, Moyo said “as soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect the situation to return to normalcy.” He urged the other security services to cooperate and warned that “any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.”

Heavy gun and artillery fire could be heard in northern parts of the capital Harare early on Wednesday.

The army action comes after Mr Mugabe sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, amid a row over succession.

There was no immediate word from Mr Mugabe but Zimbabwe’s envoy to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, said the government was “intact”.

Mr Mugabe, 93, has dominated the impoverished country’s political scene since independence from the UK in 1980.

 

 

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