Dismissed former Zimbabwean Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa arrived in Harare to take control of the country’s government. Picture: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File

Harare - Dismissed former Zimbabwean Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa arrived in Harare on Wednesday to take control of the country’s government.

Mnangagwa, known as “The Crocodile”, was sacked last week amid a row over leadership in the ruling Zanu-PF Part of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa, a veteran of the country’s liberation struggle against white domination, fled to South Africa after death threats.

Zimbabwe's military has seized control of state television and says is acting against “criminals” surrounding 93-year-old Mugabe but that the president and his family were safe. Major General S.B. Moyo the actions of the country’s defence forces were not a coup. Soldiers, tanks and armoured vehicles are in Harare.

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Events have unfolded after the head of the defence forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, warned on Monday that the army would take “drastic action” if factions in Zanu PF did not stop purges against party members with military backgrounds. Zanu PF issued a statement calling Chiwenga’s comments treason.

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Chiwenga spoke after the “G40” faction in Zanu PF, which supports Mugabe’s wife Grace for succession, promised to purge all allies believed to be supporting the Lacoste faction, which is said to be sympathetic to Mnangagwa.