The military in Zimbabwe appears to have taken control of the country’s airwaves amid high tension in the capital and reports of explosions, APA reports quoting the Guardian.
After securing control of the state broadcaster, a military spokesman made a televised announcement early on Wednesday saying President Robert Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.
He said the army was targeting “criminals around” Mugabe, who were “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in order to bring them to justice”.
nsisting this was not a military takeover, he said “as soon as they are done situation will come to normalcy”.
“We urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. However, we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual,” he said.
The spokesman said the army had acted because the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation had not aired a statement from the military on Monday and “the situation in our country has moved to another level”.
The announcement came after witnesses in Harare reported a number of loud explosions and saw armed forces assaulting passers-by in the early hours of the morning.
Prolonged gunfire erupted near Mugabe’s private residence in the suburb of Borrowdale early on Wednesday, a witness told Agence France-Presse.
Soldiers were also seen loading ammunition near a group of four military vehicles. The explosions could be heard near the University of Zimbabwe campus, Reuters reported.
During the drama, the US embassy in the capital tweeted out a message citing “ongoing uncertainty.” A statement later posted by the embassy told US citizens in Zimbabwe to “shelter in place until further notice”.
The British government said that due to the “uncertain political situation” British nationals should remain at home.