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But soldiers fighting the Tuareg rebellion say they have not been given sufficient supplies, including arms or food. Numerous soldiers have been killed in the more than two-month-long insurgency.

On Wednesday, Defense Minister Gen. Sadio Gassama went to a military camp in the capital for an official visit but failed to address the grievances of the rank-and-file soldiers in his speech to the troops.

Recruits started firing into the air Wednesday morning, and by afternoon, troops had surrounded the state television station, yanking both the television and radio signals off the air for the rest of the day. By Wednesday evening, troops had started rioting at a military garrison located in the northern town of Gao, some 2,000 miles away.

A freelance journalist from Sweden who was driving to her hotel near the TV station in Bamako around 4 p.m. Wednesday said that trucks full of soldiers had surrounded the state broadcaster, where they set up machine guns facing the building.

“They came and started setting up checkpoints. There were military in the streets, stopping people,” said Katarina Hoije, the journalist. “When we reached our hotel, which is just in front of the TV station, there were lots of military outside, and more cars kept arriving — pickup trucks with soldiers on them.”

The Tuaregs, a traditionally nomadic people spread across the Sahara Desert, have risen up against the central government in Mali several times since the country’s independence from France in 1960.

The newest rebellion launched in mid-January broke years of relative peace and has been fueled by the return of Tuaregs from Libya who had fought in Gadhafi’s army. Refugees have spilled over into four of the countries neighboring Mali because of the uprising.

Thousands of Tuaregs moved from Mali to Libya over the decades beginning in the 1970s, and many joined special divisions of Gadhafi’s military, where they earned higher salaries than in Mali. A relationship developed between the Tuareg and Gadhafi, who claimed they had distant blood links.

When the Gadhafi regime fell last year, Tuareg troops smuggled Gadhafi family members to neighboring Algeria and Niger. After Gadhafi was killed in his hometown of Sirte in October, many Tuaregs no longer felt safe in Libya and began returning to Mali.

The government has not disclosed how many government soldiers have been killed. The toll is believed to be significant, and in February military widows led a protest, publicly grilling Mr. Toure on television over his handling of the rebellion.

Associated Press writers Rukmini Callimachi and Michelle Faul in Dakar, Senegal, contributed to this report.