International condemnation continues to grow following the coup in Mali, with the African Union suspending the country’s membership.
Military defectors took power in the West African country two days ago.
President Amadou Toumani Toure is safe and with loyalists, according to the African Union.
However, his palace in the capital Bamako has been looted, and leaders of the coup say they tried to arrest him.
“While I am in charge, I assure you, we will not harm the physical integrity of anyone,” said coup leader Amadou Sanago, as he tried to reassure people worried about violence.
The unrest began at three separate bases in Kita, Koulouba and Gao but the rebellious troops have not found political support from any parties.
The World Bank and the African Development Bank have stopped development aid.
“The council decided that Mali should be suspended from further participation in all its activities until the effective restoration of constitutional order is achieved without delay,” said Chairman of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council Paul Lolo.
Those involved in the coup are unhappy with Toure’s handling of a rebellion in the north by ethnic Tuaregs, who are now using the revolt to strengthen positions they have already seized.
Tuaregs fought for former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last year and are pushing for their own autonomous region in northern Mali.