Soldiers arrested over alleged assassination plot on Mugabe
By Our Correspondent
HARARE, June 8, 2007 - President Robert Mugabe is said to have survived an assassination plot on Sunday night after mainly junior and middle ranking officers led by three senior officers tried to bomb his two residences in Harare.
Impeccable sources told The Zimbabwe Times that following the plot, believed to have been part of a coup attempt, all soldiers have been placed on high alert.
All members of the Presidential Guard have been told that they would now keep their guns instead of surrendering them at the armoury as is the practice at the end of their shifts.
The deputy commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, Air Vice Marshal Elson Moyo and Major General Engelbert Rugeje, the Quartermaster General at Army Headquarters, are said to have been detained after being implicated in the attempted coup and assassination plot.
Moyo and Rugeje were arrested on Wednesday afternoon.
Another senior army officer, Colonel Ben Ncube has also been fingered in the attempted palace coup against Mugabe ; his whereabouts could not be established yesterday
An impeccable source, who is a colonel in the Zimbabwe National Army, told The Zimbabwe Times that 360 junior soldiers had also been arrested as investigations spread.
"An assortment of small weapons went missing at KG VI amoury, Two Brigade and Inkomo Barracks and inquiries appear to link the disappearance of the weapons to the failed coup."
The planned coup coincided with a power blackout which plunged the entire capital in darkness.
The coup was foiled when alert soldiers spotted two military planes re-fuelling at Manyame Air Base.
Further inquiries by the soldiers established that the two planes were carrying heavy bombs, resulting in the immediate arrest of the two pilots.
The Zimbabwe Times is reliably informed that one of the planes was supposed to drop its lethal cargo at Zimbabwe House - Mugabe's official residence - while another was supposed to pulverize his private residence in the plush suburb of Borrowdale Brook.
Mugabe, who was supposed to officiate at a pass out parade of junior officers today, will now be represented by defence minister, Sydney Sekeramai.
The majority of the arrested junior soldiers were taken from the Paratroopers Regiment at Inkomo, a unit formerly headed by Rugeje.
Sekeramai refused to comment.
However, on Monday afternoon, a large number of soldiers were secretly taken for an Army Court Marshal by heavily armed Commandos and military police officers.