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France suspends co operation with Mali after coup topples Amadou Toumani Touré

media Soldiers in street in Bamako in Mali, 21 March 2012 AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE

France said on Thursday it was suspending cooperation with Mali and urged that President Amadou Toumani Touré,who was forced to flee his palace during an overnight coup, be unharmed.

A foreign ministry spokesman said France wanted Touré who was believed to under the protection of his presidential guard at a Bamako military camp, to be kept safe and "all those detained" by the coup plotters to be freed.

There are conflicting rumours in Mali as to the whereabouts of Touré.

Some say he has taken refuge in the United States embassy in the capital, Bamako.
Foreign minister Alain Juppé made clear that he is not in the French embassy in Mali.

His aides say he is unharmed and under the protection of loyalist members of the presidential guard at a military camp in Bamako.

Touré came under siege late on Wednesday at his presidential palace as a junta announced on state television that it had overthrown what it called his “incompetent government”.

Touré had been hailed by many for his role in bringing about a multi-party democracy to the country but there was growing resentment among army officers over his government’s handling of a Tuareg insurrection in northern Mali.

President of the African Union commission, Jean Ping said on RFI on Thursday "We no longer accept coup d'états"

Ecowas, (the Economic Community of West African States) "strongly condemns the misguided actions of the mutineers"

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the "apparent coup" and called for "democratic elections as soon as possible".


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