Dutch in Zimbabwe warned to stay inside after apparent military coup

The Dutch embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe is closed today after the army took control of the African country during the early hours of Wednesday morning. Dutch people in Zimbabwe are warned to stay indoors and keep an eye on developments through the news and the embassy's Twitter channel.

The Zimbabwean army insists that this is not a coup, but a "bloodless correction" that is "targeted only on criminals" who cause social and economic suffering in the country, NU.nl reports. General SB Moyo said that he expects the situation to return to normal as soon as they've completed their mission. According to the army, their actions are in line with the Zimbabwean constitution.

There are at least 420 Dutch people currently in Zimbabwe, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to the Telegraaf. "These are Dutch who voluntarily registered with us, the actual number may be much higher", the spokesperson said. Dutch currently in the African country are advised to stay indoors. Those who are registered with the Ministry, received this advise per SMS. The travel advice for Zimbabwe is still unchanged, but the Ministry is considering the situation, according to the newspaper.

South African president Jacob Zuma contacted Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe (93) on Wednesday morning. Mugabe told him that he is confined to his home, but fine. Zuma called for calm and asked the Zimbabwean government and armed forces to resolve their conflict peacefully. According to South African news wire News24, at least three explosions were heard in Harare overnight, and there is a heavy army presence on the streets. 

Despite the army's insistence that this is not a coup, the action looks very much like a military coup, according to NU.nl. The army occupied strategic sites in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, including the national broadcaster. Despite the situation, most local residents are continuing their lives as usual, according to many people on social media.