Zimbabwe's military seized control of the country Wednesday in a disturbance that one regional expert said renders Robert Mugabe's nearly 40-year hold on power "over".
The 93-year-old leader is reportedly in detention following what the military claims is a "bloodless correction" targeting so-called "criminals" around the president. Witnesses have reported hearing explosions in the capital Harare as tanks block streets and long lines form at banks.
Regional expert Charles Laurie, head of country risk at Verisk Maplecrof, said Wednesday that while the extent to which the situation is a coup is unclear, the intervention certainly bears all the hallmarks of a military takeover.
"The degree to which it is a coup remains to be seen, but there is no doubt at this stage it is a strong military intervention," Laurie told CNBC.
The development follows days of tensions between Mugabe's ruling Zanu-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party and military chief General Constantino Chiwenga. The latter announced in a rare press conference Monday that those behind the "purging" of ZANU-PF must stop, or the military will take action. ZANU-PF responded by accusing the general of "treacherous conduct."