Zimbabwe capital on lockdown as violence flares

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Violence has broken out in the capital of Zimbabwe, with shopkeepers told to close their stores and residents warned to avoid central areas.

Soldiers clashed with protesters in Harare as results were announced from the country’s first election since Robert Mugabe was ousted as president.

The US embassy has urged citizens in Harare to stay away from the central business district due to demonstrations and reports of gunshots.

Two shopkeepers also said they were ordered by soldiers to close and leave the city centre.

It comes a day after three people were killed when troops were sent in to disperse crowds of opposition supporters.

Water cannon and tear gas has been used against some protesters.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over in November but appears to have won his first election, has blamed the opposition for the violent scenes.

He claimed Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was responsible for the “disturbance of national peace” meant to “disrupt the electoral process”.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Image: Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa blamed the opposition

The MDC said the army had opened fire “for no apparent reason,” killing unarmed civilians.

International observers have cast doubt on the validity of the poll, with the EU saying it was an “un-level playing field”.

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The Commonwealth of Nations urged authorities to publish the full results as soon as possible to stem more violence.

A spokesperson for the Zimbabwean electoral commission said they would be released “very soon” but that reports that would be at 9pm local time (2000 BST) were not correct.

From – SkyNews

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