November 18, 2017

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Tensions Increase In Zimbabwe As Troops Reportedly Patrol The Capital

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Zimbabwe’s Army Commander, Constantino Chiwenga threatened at a Monday news conference in Harare to “step in” to calm political tensions over the president’s firing of his deputy. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP hide caption

toggle caption Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET

Loud explosions have been heard in Zimbabwe’s capital and armored vehicles are reportedly patrolling the streets of Harare, after the governing party accused the army chief of “treasonable conduct” and inciting insurrection.

Soldiers are reported to have taken over the headquarters of the national broadcaster, ZBC. The Associated Press reports that an army spokesman said in a broadcast that ” ‘this is not a military takeover. … [the president is] ‘safe and sound’ [and the] army is targeting criminals around him.'”

President Robert Mugabe’s governing ZANU-PF party issued a stiff warning to the army commander, Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, saying Zimbabwe would not succumb to military pressure. Chiwenga made an unprecedented announcement Monday that the army was prepared to intervene to halt party infighting and the purging of veterans who fought Zimbabwe’s independence war.

Chiwenga made the statement a week after Mugabe fired longtime vice president and war vet Emmerson Mnangagwa,

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