The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Mali because of ongoing terrorist attacks and criminal violence. Effective December 27, the Embassy will change its status to Adult Eligible Family Members Only, meaning that no one 21 years old or younger will be allowed to accompany U.S. government employees assigned to Mali. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated July 1, 2016.
The security environment in Mali remains fluid, and the potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Bamako, remains high. Locations frequented by Western visitors, including but not limited to hotels and restaurants, continue to be targets for attacks. U.S. citizens are reminded to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings, and exercise caution, especially at night.
Northern Mali and parts of central Mali in particular continue to be at high risk for terrorist attacks, armed conflict, and banditry. U.S. government personnel in Mali are restricted from these regions except for mission critical travel, and in such cases are heavily reliant on United Nations and host country security support. U.S. citizens are highly discouraged from travel to these regions.
Violent extremist groups targeting foreigners, including al-Qa'ida in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Murabitoun, have claimed responsibility for multiple terrorist attacks in Mali over the past year, as well as kidnappings in Timbuktu and along the border with Burkina Faso. Exemplifying the security challenges across the region, in October 2016, extremist groups kidnapped a U.S. citizen in Niger and reportedly took him to Mali.
Violent extremist elements continue to target Malian security forces, resulting in attacks on Malian government outposts and base camps for The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). On March 21, 2016, heavily armed assailants attacked the European Union's Training Mission (EUTM) headquarters and primary residence in the diplomatic enclave in Bamako. AQIM claimed responsibility for the attack.
On November 20, 2015, one U.S. citizen and 19 other foreigners were murdered when heavily armed assailants stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako using gunfire and grenades. AQIM and al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack.
On March 7, 2015, armed gunmen attacked the La Terrasse restaurant in Bamako and killed five people, including French and Belgian citizens. Al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack. Following the attack, the Government of Mali declared a State of Emergency and increased its security presence in Bamako. The State of Emergency has been extended through March 2017. Roadblocks and random police checkpoints, especially between sundown and sun-up, are possible.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Mali, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult FAA's Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council