Army Riots Escalate Zimbabwe Crisis

Army Riots Escalate Zimbabwe Crisis

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Zimbabwe's multifaceted crisis took a turn for the worse late last month when disgruntled members of the usually loyal Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) went on a six-day rampage, beating people, looting shops and clashing with anti-riot police in the capital city of Harare.

More than 150 soldiers, some of them members of President Robert Mugabe's Presidential Guard, sang revolutionary songs denouncing the octogenarian leader during the rampage, raising fears of an uprising.

"The situation looked out of control," said a Harare lawyer who came face to face with the disturbances. "The soldiers beat up riot police, threw stones everywhere and looted shops in full view of the public. They told people that they wanted to correct things and that it was time for Mugabe to be toppled. I shudder to think what would have happened had those soldiers been armed."

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