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Renegade Malian soldiers say they have ended the rule of President Amadou Toumani Toure after seizing control of the presidential palace and the state television station in the West African nation.
In a statement read out on state television on Thursday, the mutineers said the newly formed National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State (CNRDR) had dissolved institutions, suspended the constitution and imposed a curfew "until further notice".
There were fears that it could help ethnic Tuareg rebels to advance on the capital, Bamako, in a bid to win a northern homeland – a conflict which has intensified since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya sent his Tuareg mercenaries back to their homeland.
The coup against President Amadou Toumani Toure appeared to have developed from the rebellious soldiers' discontent over the handling of the Tuareg rebellion. Soldiers had been demanding better weapons with which to fight the nomads for weeks. The rebellion in the north of the country has claimed the lives of scores of government troops.