The United States expressed concern on Wednesday over the political crisis in Zimbabwe, where the military has apparently placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest.
A State Department official said the US embassy in Harare has been closed to the public as a safety precaution and a message has been sent urging American citizens to shelter at home.
"The US government is concerned by recent actions undertaken by Zimbabwe's military forces," the official said.
"We call on all Zimbabwean leaders to exercise restraint, respect the rule of law, uphold the constitutionally-protected rights of all citizens, and to quickly resolve differences to allow for a rapid return to normalcy," he added.
"The United States does not take sides in matters of internal Zimbabwean politics and does not condone military intervention in political processes."
Military vehicles were stationed around key government buildings in Harare on Wednesday after officers announced an operation to purge Mugabe's entourage of "criminals."
They insisted that they had not seized power, but President Jacob Zuma of neighbouring South Africa said Mugabe had told him he was confined to his home.
Source: National News Agency