Army chief Constantino Chiwenga (R) has openly threatened to intervene in Zimbabwe's politics

* Zimbabwean military officers read a statement on state TV in the early hours of Wednesday, saying they were not launching a coup but were “targeting criminals around” President Robert Mugabe.

* Military vehicles blocked roads outside the Zimbabwean parliament Wednesday after army generals denied staging a coup.

* The army has detained Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, a source quoted by Reuters said.

* The US embassy in Zimbabwe on Wednesday warned its citizens in the country to “shelter in place” due to “ongoing political uncertainty”.

* Gunfire erupted near President Robert Mugabe’s private residence in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday

* Several armoured vehicles were seen driving down main roads outside the Zimbabwean capital Tuesday evening, a day after the army warned it could intervene over a purge of ruling party officials.

* Zimbabwe’s ruling party on Tuesday accused the army chief of “treasonable conduct” after he challenged President Robert Mugabe over the sacking of the vice president.

Zimbabwe military statement in full

“Good morning Zimbabwe.

Fellow Zimbabweans. Following the address we made on 13 November 2017, which we believe our main broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the Herald were directed not to publicise, the situation in our country has moved to another level.

Firstly we wish to assure our nation, His Excellency, the president of the republic of Zimbabwe and commander in chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, comrade R G Mugabe and his family, are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.

CRIMINALS

We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.

As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.

To the civil servants, as you are aware there is a plan by the same individuals to influence the current purging which is taking place in the political sphere. To the civil service, we are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect every one of you against that.

To the judiciary, the measures underway are intended to ensure that as an independent arm of the state you are able to exercise your independent authority without fear of being obstructed as has been the case with this group of individuals.

PEACE

To our members of parliament, your legislative role is of paramount importance, of peace and stability in this country, and it is our desire that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective political constituencies according to democratic tenants.

To the generality of the people of Zimbabwe, we urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. However we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual. Our wish is that you will enjoy your rights and freedoms and that we return our country to a dispensation that allows for investment, development and prosperity that we all fought for and for which many of our citizens paid the supreme sacrifice.

To political parties, we urge you to discourage your members from engaging in violent behaviour. To the youth, we call upon you to realise that the future of this country is yours. Do not be enticed with the dirty coins of silver, be disciplined and remain committed to the efforts and values of this great nation.

To all churches and religious organisations in Zimbabwe we call upon your congregations to pray for our country and preach the gospel of love, peace and unity and development. To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make this abundantly clear this is not a military takeover of government. What the Zimbabwe defence forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict.

WORK

We call upon all the war veterans to play a positive role in ensuring peace, stability and unity in the country. To members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, all leave is cancelled and you are all to return to your barracks with immediate effect.

To the other security forces, we urge you to cooperate for the good of our country. Let it be clear we intend to address the human security threats in our country. Therefore any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.

And to the media, we urge you to report fairly and responsibly.

We thank you.”

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