Soldiers loot petrol stations as fuel and bread run low


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The Independent Online

A soldier loads a stolen fridge onto the back of a truck in Mali yesterday as other mutineering troops looted petrol stations, shops and hijacked vehicles.

Bread and fuel were reported to have run low in the capital Bamako as coup leaders sought to consolidate their grip on power.

The soldiers, angered by what they saw as President Amadou Toumani Toure's poor handling of a northern rebellion, roamed the streets of the capital after over-running the presidential palace on Thursday and taking control of state television. Mr Toure's whereabouts are unknown.

Tuareg rebels in northern Mali have capitalised on the confusion in the captal. A source said they had pushed south to occupy positions abandoned by government forces. Their rebellion was boosted when Tuaregs fighting in Libya for Colonel Muammar Gaddafi returned after his death last October.

The diplomatic repercussions also began yesterday, with the African Union suspending Mali's membership. The World Bank also suspended aid to the country. Captain Amadou Sanogo, who is leading the mutiny, told the BBC he would only stay in power until the country was secure.