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Soldiers stage coup in Mali

Habibou Kouyate / AFP - Getty Images

Soldiers crowd a truck in a street of Bamako on March 22. Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was forced to flee his palace during an overnight coup, is well and in a safe location, a loyalist military source told AFP Thursday. Toure, who was to step down after an election scheduled for April 29, is "in good health... and in a safe location" following the seizure of power by a group of renegade soldiers, the official said without elaborating.

Habibou Kouyate / AFP - Getty Images

Residents run past soldiers in a street of Bamako on March 22. Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was forced to flee his palace during an overnight coup, is well and in a safe location, a loyalist military source told AFP Thursday. Toure, who was to step down after an election scheduled for April 29, is "in good health... and in a safe location" following the seizure of power by a group of renegade soldiers, the official said without elaborating.

Nic Bothma / EPA

A file picture dated April 27, 2007 shows Mali president Amadou Toumani Toure at an election rally in the capital Bamako, Mali.

BAMAKO -- Renegade soldiers said they seized power in Mali on Thursday and ordered its borders closed, threatening to reignite instability in a Saharan region shaken by the conflict in Libya.

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.

Heavy weapons fire rang out throughout the night as the presidential palace came under attack. The whereabouts of President Amadou Toumani Toure, who oversaw a decade of relative stability, are unknown.

Mali's neighbors, the United Nations and world powers from Paris to Washington called for a return to constitutional rule.

The 7,000-strong army has for weeks sought better weapons to fight northern Tuareg rebels bolstered by heavily armed ethnic allies who fled Libya after fighting for ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Read the full story.

-- Reuters

Malin Palm / Reuters

Malian soldiers and security forces gather at the offices of the state radio and television broadcaster after announcing a coup d'etat, in the capital Bamako, March 22. Renegade Malian soldiers went on state television on Thursday to declare they had seized power in protest at the government's failure to quell a nomad-led rebellion in the north.

 

Malin Palm / Reuters

General view over the offices of the state radio and television broadcaster after Malian soldiers announced a coup d'etat, in the capital Bamako, March 22. Renegade Malian soldiers went on state television on Thursday to declare they had seized power in protest at the government's failure to quell a nomad-led rebellion in the north.