The Wall Street Journal: Military takes control in Zimbabwe, denies coup

Soldiers took over Zimbabwe’s state television early Wednesday, saying they were working to restore stability in the country, as gunshots were heard near President Robert Mugabe’s residence and at least one explosion sounded in the capital.

Armored vehicles drove into Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, late Tuesday, hours after the ruling party accused the head of the military of treason. The moves came just days after Mugabe, the country’s longtime ruler, fired his powerful vice president.

Before the military’s actions, Mugabe, 93, appeared poised to install his 52-year-old wife, Grace, as one of his two deputies and hoist her into a prime position to succeed him.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo, one of them highest ranking officers in Zimbabwe’s military, read a statement on state television denying rumors of a coup. “We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government,” Moyo said. “What the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country.” He said Mugabe and his family were safe.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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