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African leaders meet to mull military takeover of Zimbabwe

By Sara Shayanian
African leaders meet to mull military takeover of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe soldiers stand on and next to an armored vehicle in the central district of Harare, Zimbabwe, on Thursday -- a day after the Zimbabwe National Army took control of the government from President Robert Mugabe. Photo by Aaron Ufumeli/EPA-EFE

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Leaders from four African countries are set to meet in Botswana Thursday to discuss Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's house arrest and the country's military takeover.

As Mugabe remains under watch by Zimbabwe's military, South African President Jacob Zuma will head to Botswana to address what's viewed as an attempt to stop Mugabe's wife from succeeding her husband as president. Zuma will meet with the Southern African Development Community.

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"The meeting will be attended by Ministers from Angola‚ Zambia‚ Tanzania and South Africa. It will be co-chaired by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa and the Angolan Defence Minister," the South African president said in a statement.

"It is expected that the ministers will make recommendations to the heads of state and government on the political situation in Zimbabwe."

RELATED Zimbabwe president under arrest as military denies takeover is coup

Mugabe is under arrest in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare while the military has taken control. Military officials have denied Mugabe is being targeted by a coup -- instead saying they are only targeting criminals around the Zimbabwe leader.

The whereabouts of Mugabe's wife, Grace, are unknown. It's been reported she may have fled to Nambia.

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The question of who will replace the 93-year-old Mugabe has split the ruling Zanu-PF party between Grace Mugabe and former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

RELATED Zimbabwe army declares it is 'targeting criminals' in capital

Meanwhile, former leaders are taking advantage of the military takeover, eyeing power while Mugabe is stuck under house arrest.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will travel to Harare with two other government ministers.

Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980.

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