Archive for the ‘Mali’ Category

State Department Travel Warning: Mali

October 9, 2011 Comments off

State Department Travel Warning: Mali
Source: U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risk of travel to Mali, and to recommend against all travel to the north of the country due to kidnapping threats against Westerners.  This revision of the March 9, 2011, Travel Warning for Mali updates security-related information.

As noted in the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution dated July 26, 2011, al-Qaida in the Maghreb (AQIM) has declared its intention to attack Western targets.  The Department is aware of several separate sources of information indicating AQIM’s ongoing interest in kidnapping Westerners throughout the Sahel region.  Joint Mali-Mauritania military operations against AQIM in July-August 2011 have also increased the risk of terrorist retaliation in northern Mali.  The U.S. Embassy in Bamako has issued several emergency messages for U.S. citizens regarding these threats, as have the U.S. Embassies in Ouagadougou, Burkina FasoNouakchott, Mauritania andNiamey, Niger.

On January 5, 2011, an individual claiming connections to AQIM attacked the French Embassy in Bamako with a handgun and an improvised-explosive device.  Two injuries were reported.  On January 7, 2011, two French nationals were kidnapped in Niamey, Niger.  They were found dead less than 24 hours later following a rescue attempt by French and Nigerien military forces.  On February 2, 2011, a vehicle containing explosive materials failed to stop at a security check point outside of Nouakchott, Mauritania.  Mauritanian security forces opened fire and the vehicle exploded, killing the vehicle’s passengers.  Mauritanian security forces were on alert for suspected AQIM vehicles that possibly had entered Mauritania to conduct terrorist attacks.  In early February 2011, an Italian woman was kidnapped in southern Algeria, and it is possible she is being held in northern Niger or northern Mali.

In September 2010, seven people, including five French nationals, a Togolese national, and a Malagasy national, were kidnapped from the mining town of Arlit, Niger.  Four of these people are still being held hostage by AQIM.  On July 24, 2010, AQIM executed a French hostage in retaliation for the killing of six AQIM members during a Mauritanian-launched hostage rescue operation with French assistance in northern Mali.  As a result of Western involvement in these operations, it is possible that AQIM will attempt retaliatory attacks against other Western targets of opportunity.

Country Specific Information: Mali

July 31, 2011 Comments off

Country Specific Information: Mali
Source: U.S. Department of State

July 27, 2011

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Mali is a developing country in western Africa with a stable and democratic government. The official language is French; however, thirteen local languages are also spoken and have status as national languages, with Bambara serving as lingua franca. The capital of Mali is Bamako (1.8 million, 2009 census estimate). Facilities for tourism are limited, though they are developing. There is a serious threat of terrorist activities in Mali’s three northern regions (Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal, which make up nearly 60 percent of the country’s area). The terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) continues to use northern Mali as an active area of operations as well as a safe haven, notably for detaining hostages. Please refer to the Department of StateBackground Notes on Mali for additional information.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 361 other followers