Soldiers loot Mali presidency after ousting leader - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Soldiers loot Mali presidency after ousting leader

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- Drunk soldiers have been looting the presidential palace in the African country of Mali.

The looting came hours after the soldiers declared a coup and suspended the constitutions in Mali, one of the few established democracies in that region of Africa.

There's no firm word on the whereabouts of the country's president (Amadou Toumani Toure), who had been just one month away from stepping down after a decade in office. The U.S. Embassy has issued a statement dispelling rumors that the president had sought refuge in the embassy compound.

The mutineers said they were overthrowing the government because of its mishandling of an ethnic insurgency in the country's north that began in January. Tens of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee -- and soldiers who were sent to fight the separatists have been killed in large numbers.

The coup began yesterday after young troops mutinied at a military camp near the capital. The rioting spread to a garrison thousands of miles away. By evening, troops had surrounded the state TV station.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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