Zimbabwe’s dictator Mugabe and his despised wife are ‘held’ by military in ‘bloodless transition’ of power

Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe and his wife have been detained by the military in a ‘bloodless transition’ of power – and the country’s deposed vice-president has returned from exile.

Mugabe’s decades-long grip on power appeared to be over this morning after military vehicles blocked roads outside the parliament in Harare and senior soldiers delivered a late-night television address to the nation.

Former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, a veteran of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation wars who was sacked by Mugabe earlier this month, has returned from exile. The dismissal left Mugabe’s wife Grace, 52, in prime position to succeed her husband as the next president – a succession strongly opposed by senior ranks in the military.

It was not clear this morning where Mugabe, 93, and his wife are being held, but the military said last night that their ‘security is guaranteed’.