United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday strongly condemned the mutiny in Mali and called on "those responsible to refrain from any actions that could increase violence and further destabilize the country".

"The secretary general strongly condemns the rebellion by elements of the Malian armed forces who have announced the dissolution of government institutions and the suspension of the Constitution," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson.

"He calls on those responsible to refrain from any actions that could increase violence and further destabilize the country," a new agency quoted the statement as saying.

"The secretary-general calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule in Mali," the statement said.

"The United Nations is ready to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including the leaders in the sub-region and ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) toward this end, so as to preserve the democratic gains made by Mali over the past two decades."

Mutinous soldiers seized power in Mali after storming the presidential palace and arresting some of the government ministers, a spokesperson for the mutinous soldiers said on Thursday.

The National Committee for Redressment of Democracy and Restoration of the State (CNRDR) announced through Malian radio and television Thursday that they had toppled Mali's President Amadou Toumani Toure.

(Agencies)