Soldiers in Mali have attacked the country's presidential palace hours after staging a mutiny. In what started out as a protest over the government's handling of a nomad-led rebellion in the north, has now escalated into an all out coup. Soldiers have announced on television they have forced the president to stand down.
Renegade soldiers in Mali claim to have seized control of the African country in a declaration on state TV. The mutineers, who referred to themselves as the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State, cited 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 dessert region.
Hours before the TV address there was sporadic shooting near the presidential palace in the capital, Bamako. It is not clear if there have been any casualties in the coup attempt.
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.
The whereabouts of President Amadou Toumani are unkown, but a government spokesman said he was in a secure location. Tourmani was due to step down after elections next month.