Embassy staffers told to stay put in Mali as political situation improves

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The State Department continues to advise would-be visitors against "all travel to Mali at this time because of fluid political conditions, the loss of government control of Mali’s northern provinces, and continuing threats of attacks and kidnappings of Westerners in the north of the country."

"We have instructed Embassy employees and their dependents to be cautious when traveling within Bamako," the travel warning states, "and we encourage U.S. citizens to exercise caution, remain vigilant, maintain situational awareness at all times, and take appropriate security precautions to ensure personal safety.”

The new advisory follows the installation of an interim government on Aug. 20. The Obama administration ruled out using military force to reunite the country back in June, but remains under pressure to contain the Islamist Ansar Dine group.

“U.S. citizens should note that the U.S. Embassy in Bamako has forbidden all travel by U.S. government employees and their dependents to regions north of the city of Mopti,” the travel warning states. “The U.S. Embassy requires all official travelers to the region of Mopti and areas within 50 kilometers of the Mauritanian border to have prior written authorization from the Ambassador. This designation is based on insecurity in areas adjacent to those zones, including the presence of AQIM and the threat of kidnapping, as well as banditry in the region."