HARARE. Anxiety has gripped Zimbabwe this Tuesday following an unusual movement of troops into the capital, Harare.
The development followed a Monday demand by the army chief for a "stop" to the purge in the ruling Zanu-PF party, after the sacking of vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
General Constantino Chiwenga warned the military could intervene.
"I saw a long convoy of military vehicles, including tanks, about an hour ago. I don't know where they were heading," a female fruit seller near Westgate shopping centre, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from central Harare said.
A second female by-stander at the shopping centre also told the AFP reporter that she had seen the convoy.
The reason for the military presence was not immediately clear, but the vehicles may have been on routine manoeuvres.
The military spokesman was not available to comment.
"The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith," Gen Chiwenga told a media conference attended by about 90 senior army officers at the army headquarters.
Both the ruling party's youth wing and the main opposition party have called for civilian rule to be protected, while analysts called the crisis a potential turning point.