Soldiers from Mali’s presidential guard loyal to the country’s ousted president are reported to have attempted a counter coup.
Heavy gunfire was heard in the capital Bamako as witnesses said the red beret presidential unit had taken up positions near the airport and a military barracks.
Last March mutinous soldiers angered by the government’s handling of a rebellion by Tuaregs in the north toppled President Amadou Toumani Toure.
Since then the ruling junta has agreed to handover power to a civilian government and a caretaker president Dioncounda Traore ahead of elections.
But moves by the regional West African bloc ECOWAS to send in 3,000 troops to oversee a one-year transition have angered the junta.