Photo by Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images.
Rebel soldiers in Mali seized control of the West African nation's television station and presidential palace on Thursday in an apparent coup attempt, the New York Times reports, although it was not immediately clear if the bid to overthrow the existing government had been successful.
President Amadou Toumani Touré has led the gold- and cotton-producing country, considered one of the most democratic countries in a region torn by instability and military takeovers, for more than a decade. The apparent coup comes as even more of a surprise because Touré has long since announced he was not seeking another term in next month’s election.
The rebel group, which calls itself the National Council for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State, claimed in a television announcement that it was not looking to seize power, but rather to restore democratic order. The group also cited the "incapacity" of Touré's government to manage a months-long crisis in the northern part of the country and its "inefficiency in fighting the terrorists." The Times has more on the northern rebellion referenced in the statement here.
Voice of America reports that the White House issued a statement Thursday calling for the restoration of constitutional rule under Touré's legitimately elected government. Former colonial power France also announced Thursday that it will be suspending cooperation with Mali, except for food aid and joint action against terrorism, reports Reuters.
So far there have been no deaths reported, although at least 20 people have been injured, according to another Reuters report.