At least three people have been killed during a military coup in Mali after soldiers ransacked the palace of the country’s president Amadou Toumani Toure.
The group claim they’ve suspended the constitution, closed the borders and imposed a night curfew.
Plot leaders say the coup began because of military anger about a lack of resources to fight an insurgency in the north of the country. They blame President Toure for the lack of funds and arms.
The head of the military junta refused to confirm where the 63-year-old President was being held. Toure was due to step down next month after a decade in office.
Until now, the landlocked West Africa country has been seen as a stable, democratic model for much of the rest of the continent. It’s still unclear whether revolt leaders have the support within the rest of the Malian military.
The United Nations and neighbouring countries have denounced the coup. The UN Security Council called for the democratically elected government to be restored.
The strength of the rebellion in the north by the nomadic Tuareg people came as a surprise to the Malian government.
Renewed fighting began in January after the return of heavily armed Tuareg fighters who took part in the Libyan uprising.
The military junta says it aims to return Mali to full democracy within 9 months.