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16 Nov 2017

JUST IN!!! South African ministers in Harare to meet 'arrested' Mugabe

South Africa's defence and state security ministers are reported to have arrived in Zimbabwe's capital Harare as regional envoys to meet both President Robert Mugabe and the military that is holding him under house arrest.

South African President Jacob Zuma yesterday called for "calm and restraint" in Zimbabwe, where the military is now in full control.

Tanks blocked roads after dark and soldiers with automatic weapons kept up their patrols, but the situation appeared calm.

What is happening in Zimbabwe?

93-year-old Mr Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence from white minority rule in 1980 and is the world's oldest head of state and one of the longest-serving authoritarian rulers.

Mr Mugabe had plunged Zimbabwe into a fresh political crisis last week by firing his vice president and presumed successor.

The army believed that move was aimed at clearing a path for Mr Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to take over and announced on Monday they were prepared to "step in" if purges of their allies did not end.

The next day Zimbabwe's military seized power saying it was holding President Mugabe and his family safe while targeting "criminals" in the entourage of the only ruler the country has known in its 37 years of independence.

Soldiers seized the state broadcaster and a general appeared on television to announce the takeover.

Separately, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been receiving cancer treatment outside Zimbabwe, returned to Harare last night, a party spokesman said, fuelling speculation about a post-Mugabe political settlement.

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