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Reviewed: 22 January 2013, 16:20 NZDT
Still current at: 22 May 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in Mali due to the unpredictable security situation, threat from terrorism and risk of kidnapping. We advise against all travel. New Zealanders currently in Mali are advised to leave by commercial means. Bamako International Airport remains open.
The political and security situation in Mali remains uncertain following a military coup in March 2012 and could deteriorate with little warning. Armed rebel groups have effectively taken control of northern Mali and there are on-going clashes between the military and armed rebel groups in northern and central Mali. French military forces have been deployed to Mali. The Government of Mali declared a State of Emergency across the whole country on 12 January 2013. Government restrictions on travel north of Segou towards Mopti are in force. New Zealanders in Mali are advised to monitor local media for any developments and adhere to any restrictions and instructions issued by the local authorities.
New Zealanders currently in Mali, who choose to remain against our advice, are advised to review their security arrangements constantly and be prepared to leave at short notice. We recommend you ensure your travel documents are up to date and easily accessible at all times and arrange for visas for neighbouring countries in advance. You should ensure you have adequate supplies of food, water and medication on hand in case it becomes necessary to remain at home for several days. We recommend you monitor developments daily through the BBC World Service (88.9 FM in Bamako).
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Mali, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens who require consular assistance is extremely limited.
There is a high threat from terrorism in Mali. Attacks could occur anywhere, at any time and may target places known to be frequented by expatriates and Westerners.
New Zealanders in Mali are advised to maintain a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, keep a low profile and stay alert to local political developments. We recommend avoiding any crowds, demonstrations and public gatherings and leaving the area as quickly and as safely as possible if any unrest occurs. You should avoid any areas of sensitivity (e.g military installations and government buildings) and minimise travel.
There is a significant risk of kidnapping in Mali by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Al Qaeda-inspired groups. There is a heightened risk of kidnapping in Mali at present following French military intervention and Westerners are likely to be targeted. In November 2012, a French national was kidnapped near the town of Kayes, close to the Senegalese/Mauritania border. On 15 April 2012, a Swiss national was kidnapped in Timbuktu and subsequently released on 24 April 2012. In November 2011, four Western tourists were attacked in Timbuktu – one was killed and three others kidnapped. These hostages remain captive.
Kidnappers in Mali have targeted festival attendees in the past. In 2011, the festival in Anderamboukane was cancelled due to security concerns. In 2009, a British national who attended this festival was kidnapped and subsequently murdered. We strongly advise New Zealanders in Mali against attending any of the major festivals due to the kidnapping risk.
General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Mali to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Mali should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air. Policy exclusions may apply given the current situation in Mali.
New Zealanders in Mali are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.