Zimbabwe military deny coup in state TV address

Zimbabwe military deny coup in state TV address

This unprecedented intervention by the military has drawn angry responses from supporters of Mugabe, according to the Zimbabwe Mail which describes the country as "on the brink".

Canadians in Zimbabwe were being advised Wednesday to stay indoors in the capital city of Harare due to political turmoil in the African nation.

But the military denied it was a coup, instead saying it was targeting "criminals" around long-ruling President Robert Mugabe.

This followed last week's sacking of war veteran Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa amid a struggle for party leadership with Mugabe's wife Grace, who is supported by the youthful "G40" party faction. 2 big explosions heard.

The ZANU PF Twitter account retweeted a message from the party's youth league that said: "The army is simply effecting a National Democratic Project and it's doing so with peaceful aplomb".

The public dispute has presented a major test for Mugabe, who is in increasingly frail health.

Decades of control over the African country has, unsurprisingly, seen Mugabe accumulate some significant wealth, much like other dictators Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, and Hosni Mubarak.

The army views his removal as part of a purge of independence-era figures to pave the way for Mugabe to hand power to his wife Grace Mugabe. Embassy personnel will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Zimbabwean soldiers and armoured vehicles on Wednesday blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare. One, which was pointed in the direction of the capital, had come off its tracks.

Mr Mugabe shakes hands with then prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1980
Image Robert Mugabe shakes hands with then prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1980

Tanks were seen roaming moving through the streets as troops entered buildings in the capital Harare.

Soldiers quickly seized the state broadcaster, ZBC, manhandled its staff and read out a statement announcing its plans, Reuters reported.

He insisted, however, that the move was not "a military takeover of government" and added that President Robert Mugabe was safe.

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

Three men and a woman were also arrested after they allegedly booed Grace Mugabe at a ruling party rally.

"I can only tell you that his visit to China this time was a normal military exchange mutually agreed upon by China and Zimbabwe", Geng said, referring other questions to the Defence Ministry, which has yet to respond to a request for comment.

The country is now struggling to pay for imports due to a dollar crunch, which is also sparking rampant inflation only ten years after it suffered a financial implosion caused when the central bank began to print money.

"There's a rupture between the executive and the armed forces", Mr Rupiya said.

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