Zimbabwe: Army says it took power against “criminals”, Mugabe under house arrest

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Zimbabwe’s army has taken control of the state-owned radio and television and is blocking access to major institutions in Harare. The officers, however, refuse to speak of a coup and assure that President Mugabe is safe and sound.

Zimbabwe’s military on Wednesday (November 15th) claimed that it had seized power in the country as part of a targeted crackdown on “criminals” surrounding President Robert Mugabe, assuring that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”. In a statement read on national television that night, some officers, however, denied that it was a putsch.

“This is not a military coup against the government,” said a general reading the message. “We assure the Nation that His Excellency the President […] and his family are safe and their safety is guaranteed,” he added.

South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement he was able to talk with his Zimbabwean counterpart, who told him that he was well and being under house arrest.

Earlier in the morning, several loud explosions were heard in the center of the capital Harare, near the presidential residence. Soldiers also took control of the headquarters of ZBC, the country’s state-owned radio and television group, ordering employees, many of whom were bullied, to leave the scene, as stated by the human rights activists. Army armored vehicles control access to the Parliament, the ruling party Zanu-PF headquarters, and offices where President Robert Mugabe meets his government, an AFP journalist said.

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