The body of Robert Mugabe has arrived back in Zimbabwe after a private flight from Singapore, where he died last week aged 95.
Mr Mugabe was Zimbabwe’s first leader after the country became independent in 1980. He held on to power for almost four decades before being ousted in a coup in 2017.
He will be buried on Sunday after a state funeral on Saturday.
However, his final resting place remains in doubt.
The specially chartered flight carrying Mr Mugabe’s body landed at about 13:30 GMT. He had been receiving hospital treatment in Singapore.
A convoy of vehicles with “RG Mugabe” number plates was seen next to the runway and a crowd of people, some wearing the former president’s image on T-shirts, awaited the arrival of the plane.
Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace was also on the flight, the ex-president’s nephew, Leo Mugabe, said.
The body will be taken to the family home known as the “Blue Roof” in Harare.
On Thursday and Friday, Mr Mugabe is due to lie in state at Rufaro Stadium, in Mbare township in Harare, where he was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s first prime minister after independence from the UK in 1980.
His official state funeral will take place on Saturday at the 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in Harare.
But the BBC’s Shingai Nyoka in Harare says the former strongman remains as controversial in death as he was in life.
The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared him a “national hero” for his role in helping Zimbabwe gain independence, and a grave has been reserved at Heroes’ Acre, a shrine in Harare for all those who fought against colonial rule.
But reports suggest Mr Mugabe did not want those who ousted him from power to preside over his funeral and so he might instead be buried at his rural home in a private event. -BBC