Arrest Warrant Issued for an Ex-First Lady

Grace Mugabe allegedly used an extension cord in attack on South African model
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2018 8:47 AM CST
Grace Mugabe sits next to her husband during his birthday celebrations in Masvingo on Feb. 27, 2016.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)
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(Newser) – Zimbabwe's former first lady is facing an arrest warrant in South Africa, where she's accused of beating a model with an extension cord. Grace Mugabe—wife of Zimbabwe's deposed 37-year leader Robert Mugabe, whom she was expected to succeed as president before a coup last year—allegedly assaulted South African model Gabriella Engels after finding her in the company of Mugabe's two sons at a luxury hotel in Johannesburg last August, per the Telegraph. Per CNN, the model tweeted Mugabe "split my head open in 3 places." "She walked in with an extension cord and just started beating me with it … over and over," leaving "blood everywhere," the model added, per the BBC. "I needed to crawl out of the room before I could run away."

Mugabe denied that version of events. In her telling, the former first lady—who was reportedly in South Africa to be treated for an ankle injury—only acted in self-defense after an "intoxicated and unhinged" Engels came at her with a knife, per the Telegraph. Mugabe was allowed to leave the country after South Africa's foreign minister at the time granted her diplomatic immunity, but a court overturned that decision in July. "I can confirm that a warrant for the arrest of Grace Mugabe was issued last Thursday," a police rep now says, per CNN, adding officers are seeking Interpol's help to enforce it. Per the BBC, the Mugabe family owns property in South Africa, which hasn't indicated if it will push for extradition. (Mugabe has been lately plagued by illegal gold miners.)

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