The European Union called Thursday for constitutional rule to return to Mali "as soon as possible" after mutinous soldiers claimed to have seized power in a coup.
"We condemn the military takeover of power and the suspension of the constitution. Constitutional rule should be restored as soon as possible," said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
"The safety and liberty of the people of Mali must be preserved in all circumstances," he said in a statement.
Renegade soldiers claimed Thursday they had seized power from an "incompetent regime," announcing on television they had suspended the constitution and dissolved state institutions.
The putschists, calling themselves the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy, said they had acted due to government's "inability" to handle a Tuareg-led insurrection in the north of the country.
The group's spokesman, identified on-screen as Lieutenant Amadou Konare said the takeover was a result of a "lack of adequate material to defend the nation" as well as government's inability to combat terrorism.
Claiming to represent the nation's defence forces, Konare said the junta "solemnly commits to restore power to a democratically-elected president as soon as national unity and territorial integrity are re-established."
Mali was to hold the first round of a presidential election on April 29.
Â© 2012 AFP
Date: Mar 22, 2012