3 April 2012

Mali: U.S. Travel Warning

press release

Washington, DC — The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Mali at this time because of current political instability in the country, an active rebellion in the north, and continuing threats of attacks and kidnappings of Westerners in the north of the country.

The Department of State has authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel and all eligible family members of U.S. Embassy personnel.

Malian mutineers have refused to return to their barracks, and rival rebel factions are battling each other for control in areas they have seized in the north.

The situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable. The U.S. Department of State urges U.S. citizens in Mali to consider their own personal security and contingency plans, including the option of temporarily departing Mali.

This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mali dated March 26, 2012, to update information on current events in Mali.

On April 2, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed diplomatic, trade, financial, and border closure sanctions on Mali that will remain in place until further notice.

Senou International Airport in Bamako is currently open for business; however, the availability of flights in the future is unpredictable and depends on the overall security situation. U.S. citizens currently living in Mali are advised to temporarily depart the country in light of the current security situation.

Persons wishing to depart the country should check with commercial airlines for the airport's operational status and flight and seat availability before traveling to the airport.

U.S. citizens should note that the U.S. Embassy in Bamako has designated northern regions of Mali as "restricted without prior authorization" for purposes of travel by U.S. government employees, contractors, grantees, and their dependents. Prior to traveling to these areas, U.S.

government employees in Mali are required to have the written approval of the U.S. Ambassador to Mali. This designation is based on an active Tuareg rebellion, the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Maghreb (AQIM), as well as banditry in the region.

These restrictions are in effect for the regions of Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu, where separatist rebels now appear to have control.

U.S. citizens currently in Mali despite this Travel Warning are urged to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in case of emergency.

U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Mali and the Worldwide Caution, both located on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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