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Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s leader, is facing an unprecedented challenge from senior military figures who are thought to oppose his wife’s political ambitions. The military has seized control of the country and is holding Mr Mugabe in what it says is a ”safe” location.

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Robert Mugabe, leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union, left, arrives in Geneva, Switzerland in October 1976 for a conference on Rhodesia

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Mr Mugabe, Rhodesia’s president-designate, with Sally, his Ghanaian wife, in the rose garden of their bungalow in Salisbury in March 1980 when he was working to form a government after his party’s landslide electoral victory

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Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, greets Mr Mugabe at 10 Downing Street in May 1980


Mr Mugabe outside African National Congress offices in Harare that were bombed by South African special forces in May 1986

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Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh with Mr Mugabe before the Zimbabwean leader reviewed a guard of honour in London in May 1994

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President Bill Clinton gestures while talking to Mr Mugabe at the White House after their Oval Office meeting in May 1995

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Nelson Mandela, left, is welcomed by Mr Mugabe after the South African president arrived in Harare for a state visit in May 1997

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Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, chats with Mr Mugabe at the Commonwealth Summit in Edinburgh in 1997

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Independence war veterans rename Parklands Farm, near Harare, after Josiah Tongogara, a liberation war hero, in March 2000 during a resurgence of invasions of white-owned properties

© Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty

A Zanu-PF supporter dances at a rally addressed by Mr Mugabe in the city of Mutare in June 2000

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Mr Mugabe is sworn in for a sixth term in office in Harare in June 2008 after being declared winner of a one-man election

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Mr Mugabe prepares to address the UN General Assembly in September 2016 in New York

© Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty

Mr Mugabe kisses his wife and first lady Grace during the 37th Independence Day celebrations in Harare in April this year

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