Bomb threats made Mugabe back out of India trip - state media

Harare - Zimbabwe state media has confirmed that President Robert Mugabe was in Singapore this week and did not travel to India.

Although the authorities announced the president was travelling to New Delhi when he left Harare on Monday, he landed in Singapore, according to the state Sunday Mail.

The 92-year-old president then decided not to go to India because of an alleged terror threat against the main airport in Calcutta, the newspaper said.

Despite a lengthy front-page article advertised as the "full story", no further details were given on what the president was doing in Singapore. He arrived back in Harare on Saturday.

Mugabe has previously been to Singapore for medical checkups and treatment, officially for a cataract problem.

Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was quoted by ZBC as saying that it was "no longer appropriate for the president to proceed as planned after being notified that the security situation in New Delhi had deteriorated".

But press watchdog @ZimMediaReview said: "@SundayMailZim tells us Mugabe aborted India trip AFTER bomb threat. But bomb scare was 2 days BEFORE Mugabe left."

State ZBC radio claimed the Singapore landing was a stop-over en route to the World Culture Festival in New Delhi, where Mugabe was due to be the guest of honour. Singapore is 8 260km from Harare.

Mugabe's former information minister Jonathan Moyo has defended the president's trip on Twitter.

Asked if it was appropriate for Mugabe to take such a large detour en route to his destination ("Would you fly to Gaborone via Lusaka in a long-haul exclusive jet?" asked @TichMutyambizi), Moyo replied: "Yes of course if you are using your own chartered plane & you wish to stopover... for whatever reason!"

In response, @masango1 quipped: "Difference is, we the taxpayers are footing the bill. It's not his personal money."

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