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Zimbabwe: Reports suggest President Mugabe has been detained

15 Nov 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar
Worsening political crisis in Zimbabwe: What's happening?

The Zimbabwe military has reportedly seized control of the country.

South African news website News24 has reported that President Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, is considering stepping down. Mugabe is safe and has reportedly been detained.

A Twitter account, purportedly belonging to Zimbabwe's ruling party Zanu PF, tweeted that this isn't a coup but a "bloodless transition."

Here's more about it.

In context: Worsening political crisis in Zimbabwe: What's happening?

15 Nov 2017Zimbabwe: Reports suggest President Mugabe has been detained

15 Nov 2017Zimbabwe crisis: Military insists its 'targeting criminals', not a coup

Zimbabwe witnessed dramatic scenes after its troops moved to capture the headquarters of its national broadcaster ZBC.

Heavy gun and artillery fire were reportedly heard in capital Harare's northern suburbs.

This is happening amid an evolving political standoff between President Robert Mugabe and the country's military.

However, Zimbabwe's military said this is not "a military takeover of government" and its actions "target criminals."

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What has happened so far?

BackgroundWhat has happened so far?

The Mugabe government has been growing highly unpopular amid allegations over corruption and human-rights violations.

Mugabe had recently sacked vice-President, Emmerson Mnangagwa over a succession row.

In response, the country's Army chief General Constantino Chiwenga had said that the Army was prepared to act against Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to end the unwarranted purges within it.

Mugabe, in turn, accused Gen. Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct."

DetailsWhat do we know of the ground situation?

Some of the staff at ZBC were manhandled as the soldiers took over its office.

They were reportedly told to "not worry" and that the troops were there to protect the site.

The BBC reports that sounds of heavy firing and artillery were heard from Harare's northern suburbs, which houses prominent government officials, including President Mugabe.

The military said Mugabe's safety is guaranteed.

Foreign embassies urge their citizens to stay at home

In response to the tense situation in Harare, the US embassy urged American citizens in Zimbabwe to "shelter in place" until further notice. The UK Foreign Office also urged British citizens to remain safely at home or in their accommodation "until the situation becomes clearer."

Coup d'etat?It appears this isn't a coup attempt

Isaac Moyo, Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa dismissed the possibility that there was a military coup and added that the government was "intact."

In a statement, the Zimbabwean military clarified that it was targeting people "committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country".

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