LIVE updates: Military coup in Zimbabwe

Journalist Violet Gonda on Twitter: “G40 Ministers and reportedly in hiding. They had already left their homes when military arrived after 1am.”

Violet Gonda on Twitter: “Coup underway. Reliable sources say: Some Cde picked up. Gunfight at Minister Chombo’s house, his guards killed. Police Com. Chihuri in custody.”

The gate to Minister Ignatius Chombo's house near Harare Drive and Second Street
The gate to Minister Ignatius Chombo’s house near Harare Drive and Second Street

Now official and on ZBC TV, the military has taken over. They are saying Mugabe and his family are safe but they are targeting “criminals surrounding” him to remedy the “country’s suffering.” Said “as soon as they are done situation will come to normalcy.”

A Harare resident has told AFP that gunfire erupted near President Robert Mugabe’s private residence. “From the direction of his house, we heard about 30 or 40 shots fired over three or four minutes soon after 2:00 am,” 

      • Soldiers seen on streets of Harare
      • Explosions rock Zimbabwe capital in early hours of morning
      • Military ‘takes over state broadcaster’
      • ‘Shots heard near Mugabe’s residence’
      • Moves come amid rift between Mugabe and military

Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono

I have spoken to a trusted ZBC staffer. The ZBC complex is now under control of the military. The news reader Rumbi Takawira was roughed up a bit according to my source. Some journalists were also roughed up. The military is controlling who comes in or out of the Broadcast Center.

Soldiers standing besides armoured vehicles outside Harare, Zimbabwe. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters
Soldiers standing besides armoured vehicles outside Harare, Zimbabwe. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

20:52: Temba Mliswa “BREAKING- JUNTA has taken over Programming at ZTV as I speak”

22:44: Norton MP Temba Mliswa on Twitter

“The President is panicking and he has sent Mzembi to Zambia and to other SADC countries, but they seem not to be prepared to assist. We saw the position of the ANC through Gwede Mantashe saying that they will not be involved. Lunga is the only one who is with Mugabe on this.”

22:46 Norton MP Temba Mliswa on Twitter

“Sources suggest that these delays are all in an attempt to avoid the escalation of the situation. No blood has to be spilt.”

Reuters

Earlier in the day Reuters reported four tanks were seen heading towards the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Tuesday, witnesses said, a day after the head of the armed forces said he was prepared to “step in” to end a purge of supporters of ousted vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Army tanks seen heading towards Harare
Army tanks seen heading towards Harare

Two armoured personnel carriers were positioned on the outskirts of Harare late on Tuesday and soldiers were directing traffic, a Reuters witness said, a day after the head of the army threatened to intervene in politics. The soldiers deployed on Harare Drive, a major thoroughfare, ordered passing cars to keep their windows up and not ask questions.

“Don’t try anything funny, just go,” one soldier said to a Reuters reporter. 

Mugabe chairs cabinet meeting

Mugabe chaired a weekly cabinet meeting in the capital on Tuesday. Afterwards, the ruling party, ZANU-PF, said it stood by the “primacy of politics over the gun”. It said Chiwenga’s statement suggests “treasonable conduct … meant to incite insurrection.”

Zanu PF Youth Leader Kudzai Chipanga

“Defending the revolution and our leader and president is an ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are prepared to die for,” Kudzai Chipanga

Alex Magaisa

“A military coup is the nuclear option. A coup would be a very hard sell at home and in the international community. They will want to avoid that.”

Soldiers in the Harare City Centre
Soldiers in the Harare City Centre