A group of uniformed soldiers appeared on state TV in the West African nation of Mali today to announce that they have seized control of the presidential palace and ended the rule of President Amadou Toure. The first sign of trouble came when the state broadcaster was forced off the air earlier in the day and replaced with a message saying that the military would soon address the nation. The soldiers announced that they have suspended the constitution and imposed a curfew "until further notice" in order to put an end to Toure's "incompetent" rule. They also claimed that all public institutions have been dissolved, but that they "swear to return power to a democratically elected president as soon as national unity and territorial integrity are established."
Members of the military have been upset with Toure and his government over its handling of a ongoing rebellion of Tuareg people in the in the north of the country who are seeking independence. The soldiers say they have been ill equipped to fight back against the uprising, which has been bolstered in recent weeks by the return of hundreds of Tuareg soldiers who returned from months fighting in Libya (on the side of ousted president Muammar Qaddafi.) Toure himself came to power in a mailitary coup in 1991, but was due to step down after presidential elections next month.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.