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Emergency Messages

Travel Warning: Mali

March 23, 2012

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, and continuing threats of attacks and kidnappings of Westerners in the north of the country.  Malian mutineers have taken control of the presidential palace and closed the country’s land borders and airport.  Radio and television stations are off the air.  The situation on the ground remains fluid and unpredictable.  This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mali dated March 16, 2012, to update information on current events in Mali.

On Wednesday, March 21, a protest march from Kati, a few miles outside of Bamako, to the Presidential Palace resulted in a military mutiny by a group of lower-level officers and enlisted men who declared themselves to be in charge of the country.  This group detained, or attempted to detain, a number of government ministers and others.  Law and order is not assured.  There are random reports of looting of gas stations and other businesses.  A number of vehicles have been stopped and seized by the mutineers.  While there has been no violence directed specifically against U.S. citizens or westerners in general, the overall situation remains unsettled and potentially dangerous.  There have been sporadic reports of gunfire throughout the capital city of Bamako and other regional capitals, including Gao and Mopti-Sevare.  The airport and all border crossings remain closed.  The mutineers declared a curfew to be in effect until Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 a.m.  More precise details about the curfew have not been released.  The Embassy advises U.S. citizens presently in Mali to shelter in place until further notice. 

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 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.

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 sheet for the Republic of 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).  You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

The U.S. Embassy in Bamako is located in ACI 2000 at Rue 243, Porte 297.  The Embassy's mailing address is B.P. 34, Bamako, Mali.  The telephone number, including for after-hour emergencies, is +223 2070-2300.  The consular fax number is +223 2070-2340.