Mali Travel Warning
Issued by U.S. Department of State
Jun 02, 2009
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Mali and recommends against all travel to the north of the country due to the kidnapping threats against Westerners.
Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been designated as a terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union, and has declared its intention to attack Western targets. AQIM uses northern Mali as a safe haven and platform from which to conduct operations. AQIM kidnapped two Canadian diplomats in Niger in December 2008 and four European tourists along the Mali-Niger border in January 2009. All were believed to be held in northern Mali; the Canadians and two of the Europeans were released in April 2009. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to assist American citizens in northern Mali is severely limited.
In addition to threats posed by AQIM and potential hostage takers, confrontations between the Malian military and Tuareg rebel groups occurred in Nampala along Mali’s frontier with Mauritania in December 2008, and in the region of Kidal in January 2009. The threat posed by AQIM, continued Tuareg unrest, sporadic banditry, and the porous nature of Mali’s northern borders with Algeria, Niger, and Mauritania all reinforce longstanding security concerns affecting travel to northern Mali.
U.S. Government employees in Mali are required to have the written approval of the U.S. Ambassador to Mali prior to traveling to the region of Kidal, areas north and east of the town of Gao, including along the road to Ansongo, the town of Timbuktu, and points further north. This restriction includes the site of the popular Tuareg music festival at Essakane, north of Timbuktu.
All American citizens residing or traveling in Mali are urged to register with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at ACI 2000 at Rue 243, Porte 297. The Embassy's mailing address is B.P. 34, Bamako, Mali. The Embassy’s telephone number is (223) 2070-2300. For after-hours emergencies, please call (223) 2070-2301 or 2302. The consular fax number is (223) 2070-2340. The Embassy webpage is http://mali.usembassy.gov.
Updated information on travel and security in Mali may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Consular Information Sheet for Mali and the Worldwide Caution, which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at State Department's Travel Section.