Netizen 24 IRL: Mugabe 'fine but confined to home' after army makes move in Zimbabwe

Mugabe 'fine but confined to home' after army makes move in Zimbabwe Mugabe 'fine but confined to home' after army makes mov...

Mugabe 'fine but confined to home' after army makes move in Zimbabwe

Mugabe 'fine but confined to home' after army makes move in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's army chief, Constantino Chiwenga, has been accused of
Zimbabwe's army chief, Constantino Chiwenga, has been accused of "treasonable conduct" (AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Robert Mugabe is "fine" but is confined to his home after a night of unrest in Zimbabwe that included a military takeover of the state broadcaster, South African president Jacob Zuma has said.

Mr Zuma said he had spoken with 93-year-old Mr Mugabe, who he continue s to refer to as president of Zimbabwe.

South Africa's ministers of defence and state security are being sent to Zimbabwe to meet with Mr Mugabe and the military, Mr Zuma said.

Zimbabwe's army said it has Mr Mugabe and his wife in custody and is securing government offices following a night of unrest.

The night's action triggered speculation of a coup but the military's supporters praised it as a "bloodless correction".

For the first time, the southern African nation is seeing the military oppose Mr Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state and one of the longest-serving authoritarian rulers.

Mr Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence from white minority rule in 1980.

The move comes after Mr Mugabe last week fired vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mr Mnangagwa - who enjoyed the military's backing - fled Zimbabwe last week but said he would return to lead the coun try.

More than 100 senior officials allegedly supporting him have been listed for disciplinary measures by a faction associated with Mr Mugabe's wife Grace.

The first lady appeared positioned to replace Mr Mnangagwa as one of the country's two vice presidents at a special conference of the ruling party in December, leading many in Zimbabwe to suspect she could succeed her husband.

Grace Mugabe is unpopular with some Zimbabweans because of lavish spending as many struggle and four people accused of booing her at a recent rally were arrested.

Armed soldiers in armoured personnel carriers stationed themselves at key points in capital Harare while Zimbabweans formed long lines at banks in order to draw the limited cash available, a routine chore in the country's ongoing financial crisis.

In an address to the nation after taking control of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Major General Sibusiso Moyo said early on Wednesda y that the military is targeting "criminals" around Mr Mugabe and sought to reassure the country that order will be restored.

It was not clear where Mr Mugabe, 93, and his wife were on Wednesday but it seems they are in the custody of the military. "Their security is guaranteed," Gen Moyo said.

"We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover," he said.

"We are only targeting criminals around (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice."

Mr Moyo added "as soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy".

The army spokesman called on churches to pray for the nation.

He urged other security forces to "co-operate for the good of our country," warning "any provocation will be met with an appropriate response".

All troops were ordered to return to barracks immediately, with all leave cancelled, said Mr Moyo. The broadcast was sent out from the ZBC headquarters in Pocket's Hill near Harare's Borrowdale suburb.

Overnight, at least three explosions were heard in the capital, Harare, and military vehicles were seen in the streets.

The military actions appear to put the army in control of the country.

Army commander Constantino Chiwenga had threatened on Monday to "step in" to calm political tensions.

Mr Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party responded by accusing the general of "treasonable conduct". But now Mr Chiwenga appears to be in control.

The US Embassy closed to the public on Wednesday and encouraged citizens to shelter in place, citing "the ongoing political uncertainty through the night".

The British Embassy issued a similar warning, citing "reports of unusual military activity".

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Netizen 24 Ireland: Netizen 24 IRL: Mugabe 'fine but confined to home' after army makes move in Zimbabwe
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