Zimbabwe’s military appeared to be in control of the country on Wednesday as generals denied staging a coup but used state television to vow to target “criminals” allied to President Robert Mugabe.
“The president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed,” Major General Sibusiso Moyo said, slowly reading out a statement.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes… As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
Moyo said: “This is not a military takeover of government”.
The army has been praised by the nation’s war veterans for carrying out “a bloodless correction of gross abuse of power.” The military will return Zimbabwe to “genuine democracy” and make the country a “modern model nation,” said Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the war veterans’ association, told The Associated Press in Johannesburg.
The ruling ZANU-PF party accused army chief General Constantino Chiwenga of “treasonable conduct” after he criticized Mugabe for sacking Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Uganda has called for calm in Zimbabwe and warned against attempts to violate the troubled country’s constitution. The State Minister for International Relations, Mr Henry Okello Oryem says Uganda is closely following the developments in Zimbabwe.
The U.S. Embassy closed to the public Wednesday and encouraged citizens to shelter in place, citing “the ongoing political uncertainty through the night.” The British Embassy issued a similar warning, citing “reports of unusual military activity.”