Mar. 22 - U.S calls for restoration of civilian government and return to constitutional rule in Mali. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Renegade soldiers in Mali take to the airwaves in Bamako declaring they have seized power. The statements made no reference to the whereabouts of President Amadou Toumani Toure, who for the past decade has presided over one of the more stable governments in West Africa and was due in any case to step down after elections scheduled for late next month. The U.S. condemned the action. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VICTORIA NULAND, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN SAYING: "Well first to say, as we said in our statement this morning, that the United States condemns the military seizure of power in Mali, we echo the statements of the African Union and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and of other international partners in denouncing these actions. We have called for calm, we have called for restoration of the civilian government under constitutional rule without delay so the elections can proceed as scheduled. We stand with the legitimately elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure. " The overnight coup bid was led by low-ranking soldiers angry at the government's failure to stamp out a two-month-old separatist rebellion in the north of the west African state. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters