Zimbabwe’s army insisted that President Robert Mugabe is safe as it took over the state broadcaster and arrested a number of senior government officials during a night which saw military vehicles patrolling the streets of the capital while gunfire and explosions rang out.
Military officers denied they had carried out a coup, announcing on state TV that they were targeting a ring of government plotters following a power struggle that saw the vice-president flee the country last week. Emmerson Mnangagwa was fired in a move paving the way for Grace Mugabe, the president’s wife, to take over.
“It is not a military takeover of government,” an army spokesman said in a televised statement. “We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.