Army says progress made in ending Zimbabwe crisis

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accompanied by his wife Grace arrive at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, on August 26. (EPA-EFE) Photograph:( Agencia EFE )

Agencia EFE Harare, Harare Province, Zimbabwe Nov 17, 2017, 10.35 AM (IST)

Zimbabwe's military on Friday said it was negotiating with the country's incumbent president, who has been placed under house arrest following a military takeover, to resolve the leadership crisis and pave the way for a transitional government and free elections.

Tanks were deployed on the streets of the capital Harare on Wednesday in an apparent attempt to seize power from the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980 when the country gained independence from the United Kingdom.

Also read: Mugabe makes first public appearance since army takeover

State-run newspaper The Herald reported the Zimbabwe Defense Forces as saying that "significant progress has been made in their operation to weed out criminals around President Mugabe," without disclosing names.

Mugabe has not yet announced his resignation, despite calls from the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tensions erupted in Zimbabwe when Mugabe fired vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa last week in an apparent bid to clear the path for his wife Grace to eventually take the reins of the presidency.

An armoured vehicle is parked in the central district of Harare, on November 16. (EPA-EFE FILE) (Others)

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The long-serving president and the ZDF high commanders held a meeting at Zimbabwe's State House in capital city Harare late Thursday, with the mediation of a priest and South African special envoys, according to the Herald.

The Southern African Development Community held an emergency meeting on Thursday, noting "with great concern the unfolding situation" in Zimbabwe, and calling on all parties to "settle the political challenges through peaceful means".

The African country remains one of the poorest nations in sub-Saharan Africa and subject to hyper-inflation rates that have crippled the country's economy.

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