The BBC can report that Zimbabwe’s military has seized state TV, saying it is targeting people close to President Robert Mugabe for causing “social and economic suffering“.
A statement read out by a general on air denied it was a coup and said Mr Mugabe was safe, but did not say where.
Heavy gun and artillery fire could be heard in northern parts of the capital Harare early on Wednesday.
The army action comes after Mr Mugabe sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, amid a row over succession
There was no immediate word from Mr Mugabe but Zimbabwe’s envoy to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, said the government was “intact”.
Mr Mugabe, 93, has dominated the impoverished country’s political scene since independence from the UK in 1980.
Soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC broadcaster after armoured vehicles took up position on roads around Harare on Tuesday.
Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo went on air to say the military wished to “assure the nation that his Excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
It is not clear who is leading the military action. Army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga, of inciting insurrection. Gen Chiwenga had said the army was prepared to act to end purges within the ruling Zanu-PF party.