Mali Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Feb 26, 2016

This Travel Warning informs U.S. citizens that the Department of State has terminated Authorized Departure status for Embassy Bamako, thereby allowing the return of non-emergency personnel and dependents who had previously departed Mali. The Department of State nevertheless continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Mali. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on December 7, 2015.

The security environment in Mali remains fluid, and the potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Bamako, remains. On November 20, 2015, heavily armed assailants stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako using gunfire and grenades. One U.S. citizen and 19 other foreigners were murdered in the attack. Violent extremist and militant elements, including al-Qa'ida in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Murabitoun, have claimed responsibility for the attack on the Radisson Blu.

The attack on the Radisson followed two other terrorism incidents targeting foreigners: the March 2015 La Terrasse nightclub attack in Bamako and an attack on the Byblos hotel in Sevare in August 2015.

The January 15, 2016, terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso was also claimed by AQIM and al-Murabitoun. Also in January, a Swiss citizen was kidnapped in Timbuktu and two Australian citizens were kidnapped along Burkina Faso’s border with Mali. Additionally, extremist groups attacked UN peacekeepers’ (MINUSMA) base camps in Timbuktu and Kidal in February.

The Malian government’s nationwide state of emergency established in November 2015, following the Radisson Blu attack, continues until March 31. U.S. citizens might see increases in security presence, including roadblocks and random police checkpoints, especially between sundown and sunup. Extremist elements continue to target Malian security forces, resulting in attacks on Malian government outposts. Extremists have also employed improvised explosive devices to attack vehicles and convoys moving in the northern areas of Mali.

The U.S. Embassy encourages all U.S. citizens in Mali to evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing threats to safety and security, take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violent acts, reduce exposure to locations routinely frequented by westerners, and register their presence within Mali with the Embassy by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

All U.S. government personnel require authorization from the U.S. Embassy to travel outside the Bamako region, and may be subject to other restrictions, as security situations warrant. U.S. citizens should consider taking similar precautions when making travel plans. Exercise caution throughout the country, especially at night.

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