Mali soldiers attack palace in coup bid

By REUTERS
March 22, 2012 04:30

 
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BAMAKO - Mutineering soldiers attacked Mali's presidential palace overnight on Thursday as a protest over the government's handling of a nomad-led rebellion in the north turned into an all-out coup.

Heavy weapons and tracer fire rang out around the palace in the capital Bamako and the mutineers, who complain they lack arms and resources to face a separatist insurgency in the Sahara, forced the state broadcaster off the air.

"We now know it is a coup d'etat that they are attempting," a defense ministry official said, asking not to be named.

The official said President Amadou Toumani Toure, who has long said he will relinquish power after elections scheduled next month, was in a secure location but gave no more details.

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