March 22 - Soldiers appear on Mali television to say they have seized power because of the government handling of a rebellion in the north of the country. Nick Rowlands reports.
Gunfire rings out over the Malian capital Bamako on Wednesday night. Mutinous soldiers angry at the government's handling of a Tuareg-led rebellion in the north attacked the presidential palace as a protest turned into an outright coup d'etat. The renegade troops seized control of state television and released a statement on Thursday saying they had "decided to take the responsibility to put an end to the incompetent regime", but would hand power back to a civilian government as soon as possible. (SOUNDBITE) (French) AMADOU KONARE, SPOKESMAN FOR THE CNRDR, SAYING: "The constitution is suspended until further notice. All the institutions of the republic are dissolved until further notice. An inclusive government will be created after consultation with all the nation's representatives." The whereabouts of President Amadou Toumani Toure are unknown, though officials say he is in a secure location and statements released over twitter deny there has been a coup attempt. Toure has for the past decade presided over one of the more stable governments in West Africa. But he has struggled to contain a northern rebellion launched late last year by Tuareg nomads, many of whom fought for Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and have returned to Mali heavily armed. Anger has been growing in the army that the northern half of a country twice the size of France seems to be beyond government control. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.