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Military Vehicles Reported Outside Zimbabwe Capital


Soldiers stand beside military vehicles just outside Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 14,2017.

Military vehicles were reported to be heading toward Zimbabwe's capital Tuesday, a day after the army chief warned he would "step in" to ease political tensions sparked by the firing of the vice president.

It was not clear whether the reported movements by tanks and armored personnel carriers were routine. A spokesman for the State Department told VOA: "We are aware of the reports and are monitoring the situation."

There have been no security alerts from foreign embassies in Zimbabwe and witnesses in the capital, Harare, said the streets were calm, with business running normally.

Soldiers stand beside military vehicles just outside Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 14, 2017.
Soldiers stand beside military vehicles just outside Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 14, 2017.

The current tension was sparked last week when President Robert Mugabe fired his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of disloyality and plotting to seize power. Many observers saw the move as a step toward the installation of Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe, as vice president, which would put her in position to become president when the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe retires or dies.

On Monday, the head of the armed forces, General Constantino Chiwenga warned Mugabe to stop trying to purge the ruling ZANU-PF party of Mnangagwa supporters. Dozens have been arrested since the vice president was fired on November 5th.

FILE - President Robert Mugabe talks to General Constantino Chiwenga in Harare, Zimbabwe.
FILE - President Robert Mugabe talks to General Constantino Chiwenga in Harare, Zimbabwe.


Mnangagwa, 75, was seen for years as a likely successor to the president, and maintains a strong backing in the army. He is now believed to be in South Africa.

Grace Mugabe, 52, has support in the party's youth wing and is believed to have engineered the firing of another vice president, Joice Mujuru, in 2014.

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