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Foreign heads, dignitaries expected to arrive in Harare for Mugabe funeral

The Mugabe family has rejected the government’s plan for an official funeral and burial on Sunday, saying it wants to lay the former president to rest in a private ceremony.

The coffin bearing the late Robert Mugabe’s body arrives at Rufaro Stadium for public viewing. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

HARARE - Foreign heads of state and other dignitaries will start descending on Harare on Friday ahead of official events to mark former President Robert Mugabe’s send-off.

The Mugabe family has rejected the government’s plan for an official funeral and burial on Sunday, saying it wanted to lay the former president to rest in a private ceremony.

Meanwhile, several people had to be treated for injuries after a group of people broke through a barrier and invaded a pitch on the stadium, where Mugabe’s casket was stationed.

VIDEO: Stampede at Mugabe memorial

It all started as a smooth process, with members of the public lining up to view Mugabe’s body. But things soon went wrong when mourners broke through a barrier, resulting in some being injured.

Several people were carried away on stretchers by paramedics while others limped away. Riot police later restored order.

When darkness approached, a helicopter arrived to carry Mugabe's body back to his home.

His wife, Grace, travelled with the casket in the chopper, fulfilling Mugabe’s wish that she be beside him all the time until his burial.

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