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Cablegate: Travel Warning: Mali

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 090567

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC PTER ASEC ML
SUBJECT: TRAVEL WARNING: MALI

1. The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of
the risk of travel to Mali and that Al-Qaeda in the
Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) may use the Islamic
month of Ramadan as an opportunity to conduct further
attacks against Americans and other foreign nationals.
Faith-based organizations, regardless of location, may
be particularly targeted. The Department of State
also continues to recommend against all travel to the
north of the country due to the kidnapping threats
against Westerners. This replaces the Travel Warning
for Mali dated June 2, 2009, to update security and
threat information.

2. As noted in the Department of State's Worldwide
Caution dated July 29, 2009, the Islamic extremist group
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 has
claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Canadian
diplomats in Niger in December 2008, the kidnapping of
four European tourists in January 2009 on the Mali-Niger
border, the murder of a British hostage in Mali in June
2009, the murder of an American citizen in Mauritania in
June 2009, and, most recently, the suicide-bombing of the
French Embassy in Mauritania on August 8, 2009.

3. 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.

4. The Department of State notes that 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 AQIM as well as Tuareg rebel activity. This
restriction does not apply to travelers not associated
with the U.S. Government, but should be taken into
account when planning travel. The restriction is in
effect for the following areas:
The region of Kidal;
Areas north and east of the town of Gao, including along
the road to Ansongo;
Timbuktu and all points further north.

5. All U.S. 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,
U.S. 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 telephone number is (223) 2070-2300. The consular
fax number is (223) 2070-2340. The Embassy webpage is
http://mali.usembassy.gov.

6. Updated information on travel and security in Mali
may be obtained from the Department of State by

STATE 00090567 002 OF 002


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 Country Specific Information for Mali and the
Worldwide Caution, which are available on the Bureau
of Consular Affairs Internet website at
http://travel.state.gov.

7. Minimize considered.
CLINTON

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