Zimbabwe’s army insisted that President Robert Mugabe is safe as it took over the state broadcaster and arrested a number of senior government officials during a night that saw military vehicles patrolling the streets of the capital while gunfire and explosions rang out.

Military officers denied they had carried out a coup, announcing on state TV that they were targeting a ring of government plotters following a power struggle that saw the vice-president flee the country last week.

“It is not a military takeover of government,” an army spokesman said in a televised statement. “We wish to assure the nation that

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