Military Vehicles 'Heading Towards Zimbabwe Capital' Amid Political Purge

Military Vehicles 'Heading Towards Zimbabwe Capital' Amid Political Purge

Military vehicles have been seen heading towards the Zimbabwean capital Harare after a military chief warned the army could "step in" amid a political row.

On Monday, the head of the armed forces General Constantino Chiwenga demanded an end to a purge in the ruling ZANU-PF party after the sacking of the country's vice president Emmerson Mnangangwa.

General Chiwenga said his forces may intervene if the removal from influential positions of key figures in Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation wars goes on.

General Constantino Chiwenga, head of the armed forces in Zimbabwe, called for an end to the purge

General Constantino Chiwenga, head of the armed forces in Zimbabwe, called for an end to the purge

Mr Mnangagwa, 75, a veteran of the liberation wars, had been viewed as a probable successor to 93-year-old Robert Mugabe before the president fired him on 6 November.

His sacking appeared to pave the way for Mr Mugabe's 52-year-old wife Grace to succeed him.

Mr Mugabe is the only leader Zimbabwe has known in 37 years of independence.

Reuters, AFP and AP witnesses said they saw several military vehicles, thought to be armoured personnel carriers, heading along roads towards the capital.

An armoured personnel carrier manoeuvres along the road between Norton and Harare

An armoured personnel carrier manoeuvres along the road between Norton and Harare

Reuters said another two military vehicles had been seen parked beside the road from Harare to Chinhoyi, about 20 miles from the capital and Sky News has obtained pictures said to show caterpillar-track armed vehicles between Norton and Harare.

It was not immediately clear why the vehicles were on the move, with analysts saying the vehicles may have been on routine manoeuvres.

Soldiers were seen at the scene, but they refused to talk to journalists.

A fruit seller near the shopping centre in Westgate, about six miles (10km) from central Harare, told AFP: "I saw a long convoy of military vehicles... about an hour ago. I don't know where they were heading,"

 

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