Rebel troops have seized the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and the Prime Minister, Boubou Cisse, in a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis.
Neighbouring states in West Africa, along with France, the European Union and the African Union, condemned the sudden mutiny and warned against any unconstitutional change of power in the fragile country.
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, demanded the "immediate and unconditional release" of Mr Keita and Mr Cisse, as diplomats in New York said the Security Council would hold emergency talks on Wednesday.
"We can tell you that the president and the prime minister are under our control", a rebel leader told AFP.
Boubou Doucoure, who works as Mr Cisse's director of communications, confirmed that the pair had been detained and had been driven in armoured vehicles to an army base in the town of Kati, about 15km away.
Troops had seized the base hours earlier before taking control of the surrounding streets and driving in convoy to the capital Bamako, according to an AFP journalist.
Jubilant crowds in the city centre, which had gathered to demand Mr Keita's resignation, cheered the rebels as they made their way to the 75-year-old's official residence.
The West Africa bloc ECOWAS, the United States and France released separate statements, voicing deep concern about the turn of the events and urged against regime change.
French President Emmanuel Macron had also discussed the crisis with his counterparts in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal, and expressed his "full support for the ongoing mediation efforts of West African states".
His office added that he "condemned the attempted mutiny under way".
The AU said in a statement that it "forcefully condemns" the arrest of Malian political leaders, while the EU denounced what it called an "attempted coup."
The United States' envoy to the region, J Peter Pham, joined the calls for restraint and echoed its opposition to any "extra constitutional" change.
Irish troops 'safe and accounted for'
The Defence Forces has a number of Irish troops and members of the Army Ranger Wing serving in Mali as part of UN peacekeeping missions.
In response to a query from RTÉ news, it said: "All Irish personnel involved in EU Training Mission Mali (EUTM) and United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) are safe and accounted for."
It added that they were "observing necessary force protection and security protocols, in line with mission HQ directions.
"Óglaigh na hÉireann will continue to monitor the situation as it develops."
Mali has been in the grip of a deep political impasse since June, as Mr Keita has faced an increasingly strident protest movement demanding his resignation.
The 'June 5 Movement' has been channeling deep anger over a dire economy, perceived government corruption, and a brutal jihadist conflict.
Its anti-Keita campaign veered into crisis last month, when at least 11 people were killed during clashes with security forces over three days of unrest following a protest.
The group has since rejected attempts at mediation with the 75-year-old president and vowed to continue staging rallies against him.
Yesterday, it declared it would stage daily protests that would culminate in a mass rally in Bamako on Friday.
The opposition has repeatedly spurned proposals to end Mali's crisis and instead demanded Mr Keita's departure.
On 27 July, the 15-nation West Africa bloc ECOWAS unsuccessfully suggested the formation of a unity government while sticking by Mr Keita.
Mali's allies and neighbours are anxious to avoid the country sliding into chaos.
Swathes of its territory are already outside of the control of the government, which is struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in 2012 and has claimed thousands of lives.
The failure to end that conflict contributed to frustrations with Mr Keita's rule in Mali.