African Union officials say they have suspended Mali and will send a mission there to assess the situation after mutinous soldiers declared a coup in the West Africa nation.
AU Chairman Jean Ping told a delegation that met in Ethiopia's capital on Friday for an emergency peace and security meeting that a mission would deploy to Bamako on Friday.
Ping didn't immediately give any details about the mission. He said Mali is going through a "very serious crisis" and that the coup is a big setback for the country and for all democratic efforts across Africa.
Ping's spokesman Noureddine Mezni said that according to AU rules, Mali would be temporarily suspended as a member of the continentwide body.
Soldiers in the capital declared the coup on Thursday.