Tanks seen heading toward Zimbabwe capital: witnesses

From Reuters - November 14, 2017

HARARE (Reuters) - Four tanks were seen heading toward the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Tuesday, witnesses said, a day after the head of the armed forces said he was prepared to step in to end a purge of supporters of the vice president who was sacked last week.

A Reuters witness saw two other tanks parked beside the main road from Harare to Chinhoyi, about 20 km (14 miles) from the city. One, which was pointed in the direction of the capital, had come off its tracks.

Witnesses said the tanks turned before reaching Harare, heading toward the Presidential Guard compound in a suburb called Dzivarasekwa on the outskirts of Harare.

There were about four tanks and they turned right here, you can see markings on the road, one witness on the Chinhoyi highway said pointing to a road that links up to the Presidential Guard compound that houses the battalion that protects the president.

Government officials could not be reached for comment.

President Robert Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe has known in 37 years of independence, was chairing a weekly cabinet meeting in the capital on Tuesday.

The capital appeared calm and there were no troops in the city as business continued normally.

In an unprecedented step, the head of the armed forces, Constantino Chiwenga, openly threatened to intervene in politics on Monday, a week after Mugabe fired Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa, long seen as 93-year-old Mugabes likely successor.

Mnangagwa, a veteran of Zimbabwes 1970s liberation wars, was popular with the military, which viewed his removal as part of a purge of independence-era figures to pave the way for Mugabe to hand power to his wife Grace, 52.

We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that, when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in, Chiwenga said in a statement read to reporters at a news conference packed with top brass on Monday.



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