At least four times this year, the militants have destroyed Timbuktu's historic tombs and shrines, claiming the relics are idolatrous. The picturesque city was once an important destination for Islamic scholars for its ancient and prominent burial sites and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
West African states and international leaders say a rapid military intervention is essential to solving the security crisis.
When soldiers seized the capital, the regional and international powers put pressure on them to restore democratic rule.
Sanogo conceded and transferred power to interim President Dioncounda Traore, who was appointed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Traore appointed Diarra interim prime minister.
Traore fled to a Paris hotel after being beaten unconscious in a May 21 attack that occurred in the presidential palace.
Prime Minister Diarra took over the country's leadership until Traore returned.