Indians in Zimbabwe are safe, says MEA

RSTV Bureau

The Indian embassy in Zimbabwe and the Ministry of External Affairs in India has confirmed that Indians in the South African nation were safe after there were reports of the military taking control of the country.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted to say that she was in constant touch with the Indian Embassy in Zimbabwe and that all Indians were safe in the country.

On Wednesday Zimbabwe’s Army had taken control of the country and said it had President Robert Mugabe and his wife in custody. The Army in its statement said that it was not staging a coup but was only targeting some “criminals” who were close to President Mugabe.

The Army also said it was securing government offices and patrolling the capital’s streets following unrest.

At present the number of Zimbabweans of Indian origin, who are predominantly from the province of Gujarat, is estimated at about 9,000, the mission said. The strength of the expatriate Indian community is 500, it said.

Meanwhile, ninety-three year old Mugabe has been in military custody for over a day and there is no sign of the recently fired deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled the country last week.

Armed military vehicles continue to patrol in the streets in Harare and the situation continues to remain tense.

Regional officials are holding a meeting on the crisis even as civil society groups and churches in Zimbabwe issue appeals for calm.

A joint statement by more than 100 civil society groups urges Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, to peacefully step aside and asks the military to quickly restore order and respect the constitution.

(With inputs from agencies)