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Soldiers Announce Seizure Of Palace In Mali Coup

A group of soldiers in the west African country of Mali have staged a coup d'etat, with some appearing on state television to announce the end of President Amadou Toumani Toure's rule.

The soldiers said they have seized the presidential palace and detained the country's foreign and interior ministers, members of what they called an "incompetent regime."

The mutineers vowed to hand over power to a newly elected government.

The apparent leader of the soldiers, Amadou Sanogo, whose title was given on television as president of the newly formed National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State, announced an immediate curfew "until further notice" and urged the country's citizens to remain calm and refrain from pillaging.

On March 21 near the capital, Bamako, soldiers fired in the air as the country's defense minister toured military barracks. They were demanding proper weapons.

The developments come amid growing discontent among government troops as the Malian army struggles to contain Tuareg rebels in the north of the country.

A presidential election was due to take place in the country in less than a month. The soldiers on state television did not say whether that election would still be held according to schedule.

With AFP and Reuters reporting