President Robert Mugabe and his wife are said to be under house arrest as the army generals denied staging a coup.
Zimbabweans awoke early Wednesday to a televised announcement the army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo, saiying in his televised statement that “criminals” in Mugabe’s regime were being targeted.
“Mugabe and his family are safe and sound, and their security is guaranteed,” Moyo, the Zimbabwean general, said in the televised statement. An armored vehicle blocked the road in front of Mugabe’s offices as soldiers milled around.
Only targeting criminals
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering,” Moyo continued.
President Mugabe, 93, has been in control of Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.The power struggle over who might succeed him, between Mrs Mugabe and Mr Mnangagwa, has split the ruling Zanu-PF party in recent months.
The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all sides in Zimbabwe to show “restraint” after the country’s military took control.
Guterres is monitoring the situation and “appeals for calm, non-violence and restraint,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.
The Secretary-General stressed the importance of resolving political differences through peaceful means and dialogue, and in line with the country’s constitution.
Mugabe later told South African President Jacob Zuma that he was effectively under house arrest though unharmed. Several supporters of Mugabe and his wife Grace are reportedly in military custody.