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Zimbabwe army confirms detentions of “criminals” in Mugabe’s govt

Zimbabwe’s military said Friday it had detained some “criminals” in President Robert Mugabe’s government after generals took power in a dispute over who would succeed the 93-year-old leader.

This screengrab from Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) taken on November 16, 2017, shows Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (2R) as he poses alongside Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga (R) and South African envoys at State House in Harare.
Zimbabweans face an uncertain future without President Robert Mugabe after the army took power and placed the 93-year-old liberation hero turned authoritarian leader under house arrest. / AFP PHOTO

“Significant progress has been made in our operation,” the defence forces said in a statement after vowing to target “criminals” close to Mugabe.

“We have accounted for some of the criminals while others are still at large.”

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday appealed for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe after President Robert Mugabe told the military he would not step aside.

“We are worried,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. “We would not like to see any more destabilization.”

The 93-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, met with his top generals on Thursday, but a source close to the military said “he is refusing to step down.”

The army on Wednesday seized control in Zimbabwe, in an apparent bid to counter a power play from Mugabe’s wife Grace after the president fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In a statement, Guterres said he was closely following developments in Zimbabwe, called for calm and stressed the importance of a peaceful solution.

“He underlines the importance of resolving political differences through peaceful means, including through dialogue and in conformity with the country’s constitution,” said the statement.

The UN chief backed efforts by the South African-led SADC regional group to end the crisis.

Mugabe was due to meet envoys from the South African Development Community in Harare.


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