Zimbabwe’s army says that it has concluded an operation to restore peace and order in the country.

This follows last month’s violent protests against an increase in fuel prices. 

Up to 17 people are believed to have died, and over 1,000 others, including minors, were arrested. 

Soldiers have patrolled major cities since the protests broke out.

Zimbabwe defence forces inspector general, Douglas Nyikayaramba, says the army is ready to return to the barracks, but only if the police ask them to. 

He also promised to investigate rights abuses allegations levelled against the army. 

The Zimbabwean NGO Human Rights Forum says it has verified 17 killings, and more than a dozen rapes.

Members of the international community have called on Zimbabwe to remove soldiers from the streets. 

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change alliance had made this one of the pre-conditions to any talks to resolve the worsening social and economic crisis.bbc