Zimbabwe army, in ap­par­ent takeover, says Mu­gabe in cus­tody

Santa Fe New Mexican - - NATION & WORLD -

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s mil­i­tary claimed early Wed­nes­day to have taken cus­tody of Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe, the world’s old­est head of state and one of Africa’s long­est-serv­ing lead­ers, in what in­creas­ingly ap­peared to be a mil­i­tary takeover in the south­ern African na­tion.

Af­ter ap­par­ently seiz­ing the state broad­caster, ZBC, two uni­formed of­fi­cers said in a short predawn an­nounce­ment that “the sit­u­a­tion in our coun­try has moved to an­other level.” While deny­ing that the mil­i­tary had seized power, they said that Mu­gabe and his fam­ily “are safe and sound, and their se­cu­rity is guar­an­teed.”

“We are only tar­get­ing crim­i­nals around him who are com­mit­ting crimes that are caus­ing so­cial and eco­nomic suf­fer­ing in the coun­try in or­der to bring them to jus­tice,” said the main speaker, who was iden­ti­fied as Maj. Gen. S.B. Moyo, the army’s chief of staff.

Af­ter the short an­nounce­ment, com­mer­cials on farm­ing and corn seeds ap­peared on the state broad­caster. There was no fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the where­abouts or sta­tus of Mu­gabe, 93, who is the only leader his na­tion has known since in­de­pen­dence in 1980.

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