Archive for Mali
The US State Department has told families of US embassy staff in Bamako, Mali, to leave. In a warning, the department also advised Americans against all travel to the west African nation because of fighting and Islamic militant activity in the north and central regions. The department warns of attacks and kidnappings of Westerners and of food shortages, the loss of government control in some areas and the presence of militants linked to al Qaida.
Senegalese President Macky Sall says Mali’s ousted leader Amadou Toumani Toure is being sheltered at Senegal’s embassy in Bamako, Mali. Toure’s whereabouts had been previously undisclosed. Sall spoke in the French capital, where he signed new defense and financial agreements during his first official visit. Sall expressed concern about the security situation in West Africa, where Mali and Guinea Bissau have been shaken by coups. During a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Sall said through the regional body ECOWAS that West African nations are trying to find a rapid and peaceful solution to Mali’s crisis. A coup there last month emboldened Tuareg rebels to seize control of the northern half of the country.
Britain temporarily closed its embassy in Mali following an unstable situation in the country. “Given the unstable and unpredictable situation in Mali and the continuing lack of constitutional rule, the Britain has decided to temporarily withdraw its staff from its Embassy in Bamako and temporarily suspend all in country services immediately, including consular assistance,” Xinhua quoted a British Foreign Office spokesperson as saying. “Consular assistance will continue to be provided to British nationals from our embassy in Dakar,” the spokesperson added, but warning that its ability to help those who chose to remain in Mali “may become limited”. Last Saturday, the British Foreign Office had issued a warning to all British nationals in Mali, urging them to leave the west African country due to security concerns.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has urged its all nationals in Mali to leave the west African country immediately following security concerns. Issuing an emergency warning, the FCO on its website advised “against all travel to Mali” and called for Britons “to leave Mali if you have no pressing need to remain.” British nationals still in the capital city Bamako were urged to “exercise caution and stay away from crowds and demonstrations when travelling around the city.” The notice said that the British Embassy in Bamako city in the south of the land-locked nation had been re-opened following a temporary suspension of operations as a result of a coup d’etat March 21. There had been reports of shops beginning to run low on supplies and of long queues forming outside banks, said the statement.
The International Relations Department said it planned to reopen its embassy in Mali, as soon as the security situation has stabilised. The West African country’s borders were closed and airports shut down on Wednesday, after President Amadou Toumani Toure was ousted by the military in a coup. Embassy officials and other stranded South Africans were advised to stay indoors on Monday because the situation was still volatile. The department’s Clayson Monyela said it was unclear when communications will be restored. “As soon as the security situation improves we will reopen the embassy. At the moment the embassy is closed and all our officials are accounted for.”
Canada has closed its embassy in Mali, following a military coup that has plunged the West African country into chaos and violence. “The embassy in Bamako will be closed until further notice,” Foreign Affairs announced on Twitter. The department is warning Canadians in Mali – especially those in the capital Bamako – to hunker down and stay safe. “Those located in the Bamako affected neighbourhoods are advised to remain where they are,” the department tweeted. “Canadians in Bamako are advised to minimize their movements and stay away from the airport until further notice.” Barricades of burning tires have been lit in the streets of the capital, and gunfire was heard as soldiers raced through the streets in trucks, according to the BBC. Injuries have been reported. The Department of Foreign Affairs is urging Canadians in Mali to avoid all travel to Bamako, and to contact the embassy or consular services in Ottawa. “Canadians in Mali who are not yet registered with our embassy in Bamako should do so now,” the department said via Twitter. “Canadians in Mali requiring emergency assistance – contact us at 613-944-2471 or sosinternational.gc.ca.”
Amadou Toumani Toure, the leader of Mali who the army claims to have ousted, left the presidential palace in Bamako, the capital, and sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy in the city. Toure left the palace in the night, the Paris-based publication said on its website, without saying how it got the information. No one answered the phone at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako.