News Release

Mormon Missionaries and Members in Zimbabwe Safe, Ordered to Stay Indoors During Military Takeover

Associated Press An armed soldier patrols a street in Harare, Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Zimbabwe's army said Wednesday it has President Robert Mugabe and his wife in custody and is securing government offices and patrolling the capital's streets following a night of unrest that included a military takeover of the state broadcaster.

SALT LAKE CITY — LDS Church missionaries and members in Zimbabwe are safe and accounted for as the military took over control of the landlocked south African country on Wednesday.

"All missionaries are safe in the Zimbabwe Harare Mission," said Eric Hawkins, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "They have been instructed to remain indoors and have adequate supplies.”

With troops, tanks and other armored vehicles moving into the capital city of Harare, the military has detained President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's 93-year-old longtime leader.

The coup-like takeover included military vehicles and personnel positioned throughout the city, with the army taking over the television station. Mugabe had attempted to install his wife as his government successor. The frail Mugabe has ruled since 1980.

LDS Church membership in that country is listed at 29,570, comprising 75 congregations.

Missionaries first visited the area in the 1930s, when the country was known as Rhodesia, with the first convert baptisms occurring two decades later. Membership in Zimbabwe has increased some 23,000 in the past 20 years.

By Scott Taylor
Deseret News Writer

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