Zimbabwe: Security alert prompts closure of Victoria Falls Airport

An alleged bomb threat led to the temporary closure of Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe on this Friday, forcing the country’s president to cancel a scheduled address at a renewable energy conference, according to an official.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was set to speak at the conference in the morning but «had to suspend his trip to allow ongoing investigations», said presidential spokesperson George Charamba.

Authorities could not confirm reports from local media that the president’s plane had made a U-turn as it headed to the conference.

Charamba stated that airport authorities had been notified by the airline Fastjet of an email sent «by an unknown person» detailing a «credible threat of a bomb or firearm» targeting Zimbabwe’s airports.

Security systems are now «on heightened alert», said Charamba, who urged the public to remain calm while investigations continue.

«While our country is peaceful and all our entry points are well-secured, such alerts regarding potential terrorist attacks are taken very seriously», he added.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe stated that the incident had forced some flights to divert or delay their landing, and further disruptions were likely “to allow for continuous monitoring of the situation.”

Although such incidents are unusual in the southern African country, an explosion in 2018 in the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo killed two people and injured around fifty others during a campaign rally ahead of that year’s presidential election.

Mnangagwa, who claimed the explosion occurred «inches» from him, was unharmed.

However, two vice presidents and other high-ranking officials were injured, and two security officers died from their injuries.

Two men arrested after the explosion were later released due to a lack of evidence.

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