Harare, Nov 15: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his family remained under detention as the Army seized the state broadcaster and took over the streets of the capital city of Harare. While the Army denied a coup, it said that it was “targeting criminals around” Robert Mugabe. Reports say South Africa will send envoys to Zimbabwe over the crisis as Mugabe was under “house arrest”.

The Army swung into action 24 hours after military chief General Constantino Chiwenga threatened to intervene if President Robert Mugabe doesn’t end a purge of his allies in his political party. The army, has, however said that it was not a coup and President Mugabe was safe.

“It is not a military takeover of government. 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 him who are committing crimes… As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy,” the Zimbabwe Army said in a statement.

Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party had on Tuesday accused General Constantino Chiwenga of “treasonable conduct”. The public dispute has presented a major test for Mugabe, who is in increasingly frail health. Chiwenga had demanded that Mugabe stop purges of senior party figures, including vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was dismissed last week