Update 1 (March 23, 2012 2:00pm) -
The Malian Army Captain (name unknown), who appears to be leading the coup d'etat, released a video message stating that President Amadou Toumani Toure is safe and unharmed. Toure's location has not been released.
On March 21, 2012 a group of Army mutineers appeared on Mali's national television station to declare that they had ended President Amadou Toumani Toure's regime, and put in place the ‘National Committee for the Return of Democracy and the Restoration of State'' (CNRDR). The spokesman for the CNRDR has also alluded to the army's dissatisfaction with the Toure administration's handing of its fight against Tuareg rebels in northern Mali.
France has already declared an end to security cooperation with Mali, the African Union has issued a statement condemning the actions of CNRDR and it is still unclear where President Toure resides or how much control he retains.
On February 8, The Jamestown Foundation published Revolutionary Roadshow: Libyan Arms and Fighters Bring Instability to North and West Africa: Part One - The Libyan Pandemonium and Part Two - Libyan Arms Enable New Tactics and Strategies by Andrew McGregor.
In this prescient special commentary on the spread of instability and conflict into the Sahel after the fall of Gaddafi's regime, McGregor warned that "the [Libyan] regime's looted armories and former soldiers fuel new insurrections in the Sahel/Sahara region" and predicted that Mali threatened to descend into "all-out civil war..." With low-ranked officers in the Malian Army having risen up in the past 24-hours this instability has now come to pass.
Prior to the revolt, local media was almost unanimous in its calls for a hardline approach to the latest Tuareg rebellion, a rebellion that Toure was unable to counter extensively. Among the opponents to the Malian government stands ag Ghali, a Tuareg rebel who seeks to create an independent Islamist state in northern Mali. The Jamestown Foundation profiled ag Ghali in the February 2012 issue of Militant Leadership Monitor, Bringing Militant Salafism to the Tuareg: A Profile of Veteran Rebel Iyad ag Ghali by Andrew McGregor.
The Jamestown Foundation plans to profile the leader(s) of the CNRDR for Militant Leadership Monitor, which provides a unique source of information about the leading personalities behind the world's major insurgent and militant movements.