In Brief

Robert Mugabe's wife seeks diplomatic immunity

Grace Mugabe, the first lady of Zimbabwe, is wanted for questioning about the assault of a South African model

Grace Mugabe, the wife of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, has asked for diplomatic immunity in South Africa after allegations that she was involved in the assault of a 20-year-old model in an upmarket Johannesburg hotel.

"Mugabe is accused of attacking 20-year-old Gabriella Engels with an electrical extension cord after the model went to see the Mugabes' sons Robert and Chatunga," The Guardian reports.

"We were chilling in a hotel room, and [the sons] were in the room next door. She came in and started hitting us. She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug, over and over," Engels told local media.

Mugabe's whereabouts are currently unclear. "South Africa's police minister said she was due to appear in court but did not show up, fuelling speculation she may have returned to Zimbabwe," ABC News reports.

The case represents a political dilemma for the South African government, which "risks a public backlash if it lets Mrs Mugabe go scot-free," says the BBC. It draws parallels with a 2015 incident in which officials "failed to execute an international arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir", leading to accusations that the South African government was undermining the rule of law.

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