Zimbabwe crisis: Robert Mugabe is reportedly under house arrest after an apparent military coup

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Zimbabwe November 15
Soldiers
stand beside military vehicles just outside Harare, Zimbabwe
November 14, 2017.

REUTERS/Philimon
Bulawayo


The Zimbabwean military apparently took control of the East
African country early Wednesday in what it described as a quest
to drive surrounding the nation’s 93-year-old President Robert
Mugabe.

Uniformed soldiers took over the state broadcaster, ZBC, and
broadcast a statement to the nation in which a senior officer of
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces denied that the military was staging
a coup.

Soldiers could be seen deployed on the streets of the capital,
Harare, alongside armoured assault vehicles.

The military said that Mugabe and his family are “safe and
sound.” The president of neighbouring South Africa, Jacob Zuma,

said in a statement that he had spoken to Mugabe and that he
was unharmed but confined to his home.


Zimbabwe army takeover
Major
General S.B. Moyo addresses the nation on the ZBC television
channel, which the Zimbabwean army seized control
of.

AP/ZBC

The military overthrow was accompanied by
reports of explosions and gunfire in the capital city
Harare.

 

As daylight broke, a witness
told Reuters that soldiers and armored vehicles were cutting
off road access to government offices, parliament, and courts in
central Harare.

The news agency also reported that the country’s finance
minister had been detained by the military.

In their statement on Wednesday, the military said their aim was
to “pacify a degenerating political, social and economic
situation” in Zimbabwe, then to give back power.

Major General S.B. Moyo, the army’s Chief of Staff Logistics,
said:

“We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the President
of the Republic of Zimbabwe and commander-in-chief of Zimbabwe
defence forces comrade R.G. Mugabe and his family are safe and
sound and their security is guaranteed.

“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.

“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the
situation will return to normalcy.”

He also called on veterans and security forces to cooperate,
saying that “any provocation will be met with an appropriate
response.”

“To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to
make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of
government.

“What this mobile defence force is doing is to pacify a
degenerating political, social and economic situation in our
country which if not addressed, may result in a violent
conflict.”

The military action comes shortly after a political crisis inside
Zimbabwe preciptated by Mugabe’s decision to fire one of his two
vice presidents.

Mugabe dismissed his presumed successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who
then
left Zimbabwe.

According to Reuters, military leaders saw the move as an attempt
to clear the way for Mugabe’s wife, 52-year-old Grace Mugabe, to
take power herself.


Robert Mugabe November 8
Robert
Mugabe and his wife Grace pictured at a ZANU-PF rally on November
8.

Reuters

The situation is coming to a head in advance of the ZANU-PF
special congress next month, where Mugabe can appoint a new
vice-president.

The US Embassy in Zimbabwe has
advised all US citizens in Zimbabwe to shelter in place until
further notice due to the country’s “political uncertainty.”

The US embassy and the EU embassy announced they will be closed
on November 15.

The United Kingdom’s embassy in Harare issued
a similar warning, telling British nationals in the city to
“stay safely at home/indoors until the situation becomes
clearer.”

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