Grace Mugabe, the wife of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, has fled the country for Namibia, according to reports. Mrs Mugabe is said to have left Zimbabwe following a night of unrest which saw her and her husband seized by troops.
President Mugabe, 93, who has been in charge of the country for 37 years, is understood to be “fine” but confined to his home.
The army took over the national state broadcaster ZBC and explosions were heard in the country’s capital of Harare on Tuesday night.
But the military has denied it carried out a coup, instead calling it a “bloodless correction”. The military said it seized control to stop “criminals surrounding the president” from taking over.
It comes after military leader General Constantine Chiwenga issued a threat on Monday to “step in” and calm political tensions after Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been favourite to succeed Mr Mugabe, was fired.
Armed soldiers in armoured personnel carriers are stationed at key points in Harare.
It is not known whether the military takeover will bring a formal end to Mugabe’s rule.
The army said the security of Mr Mugabe and his wife “is guaranteed”.
“We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover,” the military said in a statement.
“We are 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 that “as soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy”.
Mr Mugabe has been in power since 1980, when the country was liberated from white minority rule.
He is often blamed for poor handling of the economy which saw one of Africa’s most prosperous countries to become one of its poorest.
Watch the Videos
Zimbabwe tensions: Military seizes power, denies coup (Al Jazeera English)
Situation in Zimbabwe is a coup – Izak Khomo (SABC Digital News)
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