Mali is in turmoil with renegade soldiers claiming to have seized control of the African country and the president insisting he remains in power.
The mutineers made their declaration on state TV, citing the failure of the government to put down a separatist rebellion in the north, as their motive.
Dozens of people have been killed in the uprising by Tuareg nomads seeking to carve out a homeland in Mali’s northern desert region.
Hours before the TV address there was sporadic shooting near the presidential palace in the capital Bamako.
The army has long complained of a lack of arms and resources to tackle the rebels, who have been bolstered by heavily armed fellow Tuaregs returning from Libya’s civil war.
A spokesman for President Amadou Tourmani said he is safe and being protected by loyal soldiers at a military camp. Tourmani was due to step down after elections next month. France has condemned the coup attempt.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in a statement that Paris was suspending some security cooperation with Mali.
“We will maintain our aid to the population, particularly food aid, and we will continue our efforts in the fight against terrorism,” Juppe said.