Malian soldiers angered over the government’s mishandling of the two-month-old Tuareg rebellion in the North say they have overthrown President Amadou Toumani Toure – just weeks before the election that would have marked an end to his mandate. The president’s location is unknown. Frustration had long been brewing in the military in what had been one of the region’s few stable democracies. Residents told VOA that sporadic gunfire continued in Bamako Thursday just hours after renegade soldiers – calling themselves the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State – or CNRDR, seized control of the state.
Appearing on state TV early Thursday, the CNRDR spokesman, Amadou Konare, says the armed forces decided to put an end to the “incompetent regime” of President Amadou Toumani Toure. He says the constitution is suspended until further notice and all government institutions have been dissolved. He says an inclusive government will be created after consultation with the nation’s representatives.
Stirrings of the coup began Wednesday morning with a mutiny by soldiers at a military camp near the capital and then spread to a military base in Gao, in the northeast.