The Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Support Unit, colloquially known as the “black boots” is reported to have attempted to arrest Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Constantino Chiwenga when he returned from China on Sunday. The attempted arrest took place at the Robert Mugabe International Airport and is reported to have triggered the military’s seizure of power.
According to weekly publication, The Independent, the team from the Support Unit was disarmed and defeated by soldiers who had been deployed to safeguard Chiwenga, as Military Intelligence was aware of the plot.
A source who spoke to The Independent said:
The political fallout escalated when the police were given instructions to arrest Chiwenga on arrival at the airport. A team was deployed to arrest him, but Chiwenga had been informed of the plan by military intelligence.
The military contemplated landing in Lusaka and driving from Zambia to avoid arrest, among other options, before eventually settling on flying straight into Harare.
When Chiwenga came, a team of soldiers dressed in National Handling Service (NHS) uniforms got inside the airport, while police positioned themselves to seize him. The soldiers reacted and disarmed them. The soldiers took off the NHS uniforms, revealing their camouflage fatigues, resulting in the police officers fleeing.
ZRP Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is reported to be in military custody, but there has been no independent verification.
More: The Independent