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LIVE UPDATES: Military Takes Control in Zimbabwe; Detains Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has been detained in an unfolding military takeover in the southern African country.
Soldiers took control of Zimbabwe’s ZBC state broadcaster in the early hours of Wednesday, and said the 93-year-old leader was “safe and sound”.

Mr. Mugabe has led the southern African country since independence in 1980.
But the soldiers denied that they’ve seized power, saying their action was only aimed at reining in ” criminal” elements around Mr. Mugabe, the oldest leader in the world.

Several officials have been held by the military, including ministers of the ruling ZANU-PF.
Those said to have been held include Albert Ngulube -Deputy Director Central Intelligence Organisation and Kudzai Chipanga – President of ZanuPF National Youth League.

Zimbabwe’s privately-owned NewsDay reports that three leading figures in the Generation 40 (G40) faction of Zanu-PF who had been reportedly fomenting chaos in the ruling party were picked up in the early hours of Wednesday following the intervention of the country’s Defence Forces.

Although the reports remain unconfirmed at the moment, indications are that Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo (Zanu PF’s secretary for administration), national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo were arrested in raids at their respective homes.
Mr. Moyo is believed to have been the brains behind the G40 faction that has reportedly been masterminding the expulsion of liberation war heroes in ZANU-PF, including the recent sacking of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the report says.

Mr. Mnangagwa is said to have landed at an Air Force base in the country to take charge of affairs.
He was pushed pushed out to pave way for the emergence of Mr. Mugabe’s wife, a situation that irked the military, reports said.

Mr. Mugabe is said to be negotiating safe exit for himself and his wife, Grace.
ZANU-PF said this on Twitter Wednesday morning: Contrary to international reports, the gallant Zimbabwean Army has not staged a COUP. There is n COUP in Zimbabwe. Neither is there crisis.
The army is simply effecting a National Democratic Project and it’s doing so with peaceful aplomb.
The United Kingdom Embassy in Zimbabwe urges nationals to stay at home and monitor development:

“Due to the uncertain situation in Harare, incl. reports of unusual military activity, we advise British nationals in the city to stay safely at home/indoors until the situation becomes clearer. Monitor this account for updates.”
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has sued for calm with the hope that the situation would not escalate beyond control.

President Zuma has called for calm and restraint and has expressed hope that developments in Zimbabwe would not lead to unconstitutional changes of Government as that would be contrary to both SADC and African Union positions.

He urges the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and #Zimbabwe Defence Force to resolve the political impasse amicably and has urged the Zimbabwean Defence Force to ensure that the maintenance of peace and security in the country is not compromised.

He added that SADC will continue to closely monitor the situation and remains ready to assist where necessary to resolve the political impasse in keeping with established SADC Protocols and processes.
Youth in the ZANU-PF say on Twitter that they’re satisfied with the conduct of the military so far.
They also confirmed arrest of their leader, Chipanga, but say his safety is guaranteed.