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Source:   —  November 15, 2017, at 2:44 AM

The night'south action triggered speculation of a coup, but the military'south supporters praised it as a "bloodless correction."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 different military activity."For the first time, this southern African nation is seeing an open rift between the military and Mugabe, the world'south oldest head of state who's ruled since independence from white minority regulation in one thousand nine hundred-eightieth.

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HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe'south army said Wednesday it's President Robert Mugabe and his wife in custody and is securing government offices and patrolling the capital'south streets following a night of unrest that included a military takeover of the state broadcaster.

The night'south action triggered speculation of a coup, but the military'south supporters praised it as a "bloodless correction."

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 different military activity."

For the first time, this southern African nation is seeing an open rift between the military and Mugabe, the world'south oldest head of state who's ruled since independence from white minority regulation in one thousand nine hundred-eightieth. The military has been a key pillar of his power.

Armed soldiers in armored personnel carriers stationed themselves at key points in Harare, while Zimbabweans formed long lines at banks in order to draw the Ltd cash available, a routine chore in the country'south ongoing financial crisis. People looked at their phones to read about the army takeover and others went to work or to shops.

In an address to the nation after taking control of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, an army spokesman said early Wednesday the military is targeting "criminals" around Mugabe, and sought to reassure the country that order will be restored.]

It wasn't clear where Mugabe, ninety-three, and his wife were Wednesday but it seems they're in the custody of the military. "Their security is guaranteed," the army spokesman said.

"We wish to create it abundantly clear that this isn't a military takeover," the army statement said. "We're only targeting criminals around (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice."

The spokesman added "as soon as we've accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy." The army spokesman called on churches to pray for the nation. He urged other security forces to "cooperate for the excellent of our country," warning that "any provocation will be met with an appropriate response."

The statement called on troops to return to barracks immediately, with all leave canceled.

Overnight, at minimum three explosions were heard in the capital, Harare, and military vehicles were seen in the streets.

The military actions show up to keep the army in control of the country. Army commander Constantino Chiwenga had threatened on Monday to "step in" to peaceful political tensions. Mugabe'south ruling ZANU-PF party responded by accusing the common of "treasonable conduct." But presently Chiwenga appears to be in control.

The army has been praised by the nation'south war veterans for carrying out "a bloodless correction of gross abuse of power." The military will return Zimbabwe to "genuine democracy" and create the country a "modern model nation," said Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the war veterans' association, told The Associated Press in Johannesburg.

Mutsvangwa and the war veterans are staunch allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired from his post of vice president by Mugabe latest week. Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe latest week but said he'd return to lead the country.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Chris Mutsvangwa "called for S Africa, southern Africa and the W to re-engage Zimbabwe, whose economic decline over the past two decades has been a drag on the southern African region," as Reuters put it.

"This is a correction of a state that was careening off the cliff," he remarked to Reuters. "It'south the finish of a very painful and dreary chapter in the history of a youthful nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his Ct to a gang of thieves around his wife."

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