Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has been placed under house arrest in the capital Harare, South African President Jacob Zuma says.
Robert Mugabe told Jacob Zuma in a phone call that he was fine, the South African leader’s office said.
Troops are patrolling the capital after they seized state TV and said they were targeting “criminals”.
The move may be a bid to replace Robert Mugabe with his fired deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s dismissal last week left Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace as the president’s likely successor.
Robert Mugabe, 93, has dominated Zimbabwe’s political scene since it gained independence from the UK in 1980.
After days of tension and rumor, the army seized the state broadcaster ZBC on November 14.
A Zimbabwean army officer, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, went on air and denied there was a coup, but said the military was targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe.
Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo also said Robert Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”. It is not clear who is leading the military action.
Since then military vehicles have been out on the streets of Harare, while gunfire has been heard from northern suburbs where Robert Mugabe and a number of government officials live.
In a statement, Jacob Zuma’s office said: “President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine.”
At heart is a power struggle over who succeeds Robert Mugabe. The rivalry between Grace Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa has split the governing Zanu-PF.
Following a call from Grace Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa was removed from the vice-presidency earlier this month.