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Principale » Blasts Heard in Zimbabwe Capital as Army Denies Takeover

Blasts Heard in Zimbabwe Capital as Army Denies Takeover

15 Novembre 2017

Zimbabwe's military says it has launched an operation to "target criminals" around President Robert Mugabe, but insisted that the 93-year-old president and his family are safe.

A Harare resident told AFP that gunfire erupted near President Robert Mugabe's private residence in Borrowdale in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday.

Concerns grew on Tuesday after soldiers seized Zimbabwe's state broadcast ZBC in response to accusations by the ruling ZANU-PF party that the head of the military had committed treason.

"We are only targeting criminals around who 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 accomplish our mission we expect situation to return to normalcy", Moyo said.

Mr Mnangagwa, a veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation wars, was popular with the military, which viewed his removal as part of a purge of independence-era figures to pave the way for Mr Mugabe to hand power to his wife Grace, 52.

While Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe haven't responded directly to Chiwenga's remarks, the Zanu-PF Youth League, a key ally of Grace Mugabe, slammed what they said was overreach by the military into political issues. More than 100 senior officials allegedly supportive of Mnangagwa were listed for disciplinary measures by a faction associated with Grace Mugabe.

The US embassy in Harare tweeted that it would be closed on Wednesday "due to ongoing uncertainty".

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The attacks, which had the backing of President Mugabe, eventually led to the dismissal of the former vice president, who has strong backing from the military.

Mutsvangwa and the war veterans are staunch allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked from his post of vice president by Mugabe last week.

Mugabe's second wife has developed a reputation as a shrewd, if sometimes extravagant, politician, and has steadily gained influence among youth in Zimbabwe.

In the statement, the ruling party said it stood by the "primacy of politics over the gun" and accused General Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct ... meant to incite insurrection". He is the world's oldest head-of-state, who's been in office since the end of white minority rule in 1980, with the military perceived as a pillar of his power.

The military in South Africa and Zambian diplomats on Tuesday warned military leaders in Harare not to take any "unconstitutional" steps to avenge Mnangagwa.

The U.S. Embassy in Harare advised Americans "to shelter in place until further notice".

This followed months of incessant attacks on Mnangagwa by First Lady Grace Mugabe and her backers such as Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo and Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

Both the United States and British embassies in Zimbabwe have advised their nationals to stay indoors because of what they call the 'uncertain situation'.

Blasts Heard in Zimbabwe Capital as Army Denies Takeover