Obama administration warns of Mali violence spillover across western Africa

“On January 11, the Malian military launched military operations against terrorist groups that have been in control of northern Mali,” the travel warning states. “As a result, terrorist groups have stepped up their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnappings against Westerners, particularly those whose countries are linked to support for international military intervention in Mali. 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 border region with Mali continues to be of specific concern since the Malian government's loss of control over its northern region in early 2012. The border is porous, and there are frequent reports of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other terrorist or rebel groups crossing into Niger. The Government of Niger has increased its security forces in the border area, but the situation remains unstable and travel there is not advised.”

Separately, Algerian neighbor Morocco said Thursday that it has put its security forces on high alert amid fears that the violence could extend there.