Zimbabwe's military says it is continuing talks with President Robert Mugabe for his departure. Picture: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File

Harare — Zimbabwe's military says it is continuing talks with President Robert Mugabe for his departure while it pursues those who were close to the leader and his wife.

Zimbabwe state media reported Friday morning a military statement saying talks with Mugabe "on the way forward" are ongoing.

The talks in Harare on Thursday come after soldiers this week put Mugabe under house arrest, took over state TV and blockaded main roads in a stunning turnaround for the 93-year-old leader who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1980.

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces said "significant progress has been made in their operation to weed out criminals around President Mugabe," adding that they had arrested some although others were still at large.

The statement said Zimbabwe's military is "currently engaging with the Commander-in-Chief President Robert Mugabe on the way forward and will advise the nation of the outcome as soon as possible." The state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television aired a similar report in its early morning bulletin.

Associated Press and Independent Foreign Service