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Zimbabwe: ..........Robert Mugabe confined to home as army takes control

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Itemized Report:

The Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, is being confined to his house by soldiers who surrounded his official and private residences, as well as other government buildings.

Sources suggest Grace Mugabe, who was being positioned to eventually take over from her husband, has left Zimbabwe for Namibia.

The sacked vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was reported to have returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday morning from South Africa, where he fled after being stripped of his office.

The president of neighbouring South Africa, Jacob Zuma, said he had spoken to Mugabe, who was “fine” and that he was sending special envoys to meet both Zimbabwe’s president and its senior army officers.

The UK government warned British nationals to stay indoors until the situation becomes clearer. The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, called for restraint.

Overnight, Zimbabwean defence forces seized control of the state broadcaster ZBC, with their spokesman Maj Gen SB Moyo screening a statement declaring they were “targeting criminals” around Mugabe.

In a statement broadcast overnight, Moyo insisted:
We wish to make this abundantly clear this is not a military takeover of government. What the Zimbabwe defence forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in violent conflict.

But the statement made it clear the army had acted in response to a purge of Zanu-PF members, including the vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked by Mugabe last week, and had been angered by the failure of state media to report on a warning issued by the army chief, Gen Constantine Chiwenga, on Monday:

The situation in our country has moved to another level … To members of the Zimbabwe defence forces, all leave is cancelled and you are all to return to your barracks with immediate effect …

Let it be clear we intend to address the human security threats in our country. Therefore, any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.

Armoured vehicles and troops have on Wednesday morning blocked roads in central Harare around government buildings and the presidential residence.

There are reports that at least one minister, Ignatius Chombo, who holds the finance brief, has been detained by the military.

Chombo is a leading member of the G40 faction of the ruling Zanu-PF party, led by Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who is vying to succeed the 93-year-old president. This faction is believed to be the target of the military’s action.

Robert Mugabe's grip on Zimbabwe ebbing away after military takes control
Head of state, who sacked his vice president last week in apparent attempt to give power to his wife, meets senior military officers after a day of house arrest

Soldiers have blocked access to Zimbabwe’s parliament, some of its government offices and courts in the capital, Harare. Access to the president’s official residence was also prevented by troops, Boris Johnson, the UK foreign secretary, told the House of Commons.

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