Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé were detained by mutinying soldiers on Tuesday, according to security sources.
It comes after soldiers fired shots at an army base in Kati, 15 km outside of the capital Bamako.
In 2012, a mutiny unfolded at the same base, leading to a coup that toppled the former president Amadou Toumani Toure.
The West African bloc ECOWAS called for an end to the "mutiny" and urged soldiers to return to their barracks close to the capital Bamako.
The soldiers reportedly may have kidnapped officers from Mali's army, who they would have ushered to join their side.
But so far there is no firm confirmation no other barracks or guards have gotten onboard.
News of the gunfire spread to Bamako, sparking demonstrations there.
Opposition protests have swelled in Mali since June- with demonstrators calling for President Keita to resign.
So-called after the date of its first protest, the June 5 Movement has been channeling deep anger over a dire economy, perceived government corruption and a brutal jihadist conflict.
Western powers have called for peace.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France “condemns in the strongest terms this grave event”.