Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Prison Break in Downtown Bamako; Avoid Area

The U.S. Embassy in Mali is issuing this emergency message to warn U.S. citizens that the Embassy has received reports of a prison break at Bamako Central Prison in downtown Bamako, in the Dravela neighborhood. There are varying reports about the number of escapees, but there has been shooting between Police and the prisoners. Police and Gendarmes have evacuated the area and blocked road access to the prison.  The U.S. Embassy has told its staff avoid this area until further notice, and private citizens are advised to do the same.

Because Police and Gendarme have yet to account for all the escaped prisoners at this time, it is  expected that there will be additional patrols and aggressive searches this evening in this vicinity, and possibly even checkpoints around town.  Be sure to obey instructions by Malian security forces if this is the case.

The U.S. Embassy in Mali reminds U.S. citizens to review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. You should maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities.  If you happen to be in an area in which a demonstration is occurring, try to leave the area. If this is not possible, try maintaining a low profile until such time as you are able to leave the area.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mali despite the Travel Warning enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution and travel information, including the Travel Warning for Mali, and Country Specific Information. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy in Bamako is located at ACI 2000, Rue 243 Porte 297. The Consular Section can be contacted at +223 2070 2505, or via email at consularbamako@state.gov. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, please contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Marine Guard at +223 2070 2301 or 2070 2302.