“We are in control of the presidential palace,” AFP quoted one of the rebels as saying on Thursday.

The rebellion ignited Wednesday afternoon over criticism against the government’s handling of a Tuareg insurrection in the north and turned into an apparent coup.

Following an armed conflict, the rebels seized the presidential palace and arrested several ministers, including Foreign Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and Interior Minister Kafouhouna Kone, the report said.

Toure, however, has managed to escape from the premises, an independent source said.

Lieutenant Amadou Konare, the spokesman of the soldiers, calling themselves National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy, appeared on television and announced the dissolution of state institutions and suspension of the constitution.

Konare also said a curfew will be in place from midnight to six a.m. local time.

He added that upon consultations with all the Malian political factions, a national unity cabinet will be formed in the coming days and the transitional government will run the country until power is ceded to a civilian government after “free and transparent” elections in near future.

The spokesman cited the former government’s security failures in northern Mali and its “inability” to fight terrorism as well as threats to national unity, and the uncertainty shadowing general elections in 2012 as some of the major reasons behind the mutiny.