Armed Zimbabwean soldiers sit on top of a military tank in Harare, Zimbabwe Wednesday. Image: APHarare: Zimbabwe military officers read an address live on state TV in the early hours of Wednesday, saying President Robert Mugabe was safe and that the country was not undergoing a coup. "It is not a military takeover of government," said one general reading a statement. "We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
"We are only targeting criminals around who him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice." The address came hours after several loud explosions echoed across central Harare and troops seized the state broadcaster. The developments in the Zimbabwe capital fuelled speculation that a coup was under way against Mugabe, after the head of the armed forces threatened to "step in" over the sacking of an influential vice president. Gunfire erupted near Mugabe's private residence in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday, a witness was quoted as saying. Armed soldiers were assaulting passers-by in the early morning hours in Harare while officers were seen loading ammunition near a group of four military vehicles. Three explosions rocked the centre of the southern African nation's capital, near the University of Zimbabwe campus, another witnesses said.
The US embassy in Zimbabwe warned its citizens in the country to "shelter in place" due to "ongoing political uncertainty". The UK embassy in Harare also urged British citizens to stay indoors during the 'uncertain situation'.