The Zimbabwean army has taken control of the African country, but said President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, is safe.
After taking over state television, a military spokesman said he was targeting people close to Robert Mugabe who had caused “social and economic suffering.”
The move came after Robert Mugabe fired his deputy, Emerson Mnangagwa, in favor of his wife, Grace.
On November 15, heavy artillery and artillery fire could be heard in the northern parts of the capital Harare.
A statement read by a general on the air denied that it was a coup. There was no immediate news from the president himself.
An unconfirmed Twitter account linked to the ruling Zanu-PF party has reported that Robert Mugabe has been detained.
Robert Mugabe, 93, has dominated the political scene in Zimbabwe since independence from Britain.
South African President Jacob Zuma said he hoped the events in Zimbabwe would not lead to “unconstitutional changes in government”.
The US Embassy in Harare has advised US citizens in Zimbabwe to “take shelter” until further notice.
China, Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner, says it is closely monitoring the situation and hopes the countries can handle their domestic affairs properly.
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Troops in armored vehicles have been taking to the streets of the capital, Harare, since 14 November.
After the soldiers took over the headquarters of the television operator ZBC, Major General Sibusiso Moyo went on the air to say that the military wanted to “assure the nation that His Excellency the President … and his family are safe and secure and their security is guaranteed ‘.
“We only target criminals around him who commit crimes … who cause social and economic suffering in the country,” said the general.
“As soon as we complete our mission, we expect the situation to return to normal.”
The statement also said that citizens should remain calm and restrict unnecessary movement. The military assures Zimbabwe’s judiciary that its independence is guaranteed. The security services must “cooperate for the benefit of our country” and any provocation will be “met with an appropriate response”. And all defenses for the defense forces are canceled and the staff must return to the barracks immediately.
It is not clear who is leading the war.
Army Chief Constantino Chivenga, who visited China last week, said the army was ready to act on November 13 to end the Zanu-PF purge.
Some ZBC officers were led when the troops settled in, sources said.
A government source told that Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo had been detained.
Ignatius Chombo is a leading member of the Zanu-PF faction led by Grace Mugabe.
Zanu-PF had accused General Constantino Chivenga of “treasonous behavior” after he warned that the army could intervene.
Robert Mugabe fired Emerson Mnangagwa last week amid an inheritance dispute.
Emerson Mnangagwa was previously seen as a potential successor to the president, but since then First Lady Grace Mugabe has become the clear favorite.
Last month, Grace Mugabe accused Emerson Mnangagwa’s allies of plotting a coup.
The rivalry between Grace Mugabe and Emerson Mnangagwa divided Zanu-PF.
General Constantino Chivenga is a close ally of Emerson Mnangagwa and the two are veterans of the war of the 1970s, which ended the rule of the white minority.
War veterans leader Chris Mutswangwa welcomed the military move, telling : “This is a correction of a condition that deviated from the scale.
“This is the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation in which a dictator, when he grows old, betrays his court to a gang of thieves around his wife.”