Mutinying soldiers in Mali took over the state television and announced that they had seized control of the government, saying the action was necessary because of the mishandling of an insurgency in the north.

The spokesman for the soldiers, Lt. Amadou Konare, said in a communique that they had taken the country's security in their own hands "due to the inability of the government to give the armed forces the necessary means to defend the integrity of our national territory."

A soldier at the presidential palace who asked not to be named because he feared reprisal said that the presidential guard had failed to defend the palace against the renegade soldiers. They have seized control of the seat of government, but could not find democratically elected leader President Amadou Toumani Toure, who is in hiding.