Recent open-source news reports have indicated an increase in security patrols and checkpoints throughout Bamako, based on the current security situation. This week, Police and National Guard units have been stopping vehicles at well-marked checkpoints near bridges, traffic circles, and other large traffic control features. Embassy security staff also observed a small, less well-marked and lightly staffed checkpoint stopping vehicles and detaining some drivers at the northeast corner of the U.S. Embassy, near the mosque. Future checkpoint locations cannot be predicted, but may be in either expected or unexpected locations.
The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that all drivers are required to stop their vehicles for security checkpoints. Drivers should carry multiple copies of identification and vehicle documents. At any checkpoint, the Embassy recommends keeping doors locked and windows up; if necessary, pass copies of your documents through a window opened as minimally as possible. Be aware that security forces do deploy tire puncture strips and other methods to stop cars which try to bypass checkpoints, and keep in mind that security officials may be more inclined to consider noncompliance as a threat in the current security environment.
The Embassy has not noted any increases in vehicle stops by police acting alone, and advises caution if any motorcyclists or other motorists attempt to stop you en route. Such actions have been covers for attempted theft, extortion, and assault in the past. If followed by anyone in uniform, seek a safe, guarded nearby location before stopping. Safe locations could include large hotels, international embassies and organizations, and Malian security force facilities. If unavailable, seek a public and populated area where witnesses are in close proximity to the encounter.
Based on the current situation, the Embassy has recommended that its staff limit movement after dark, and private U.S. citizens should exercise the same precaution. Ensure that your cell phone and any other mobile communications equipment are charged and available, and have contact information pre-programmed in a manner that facilitates use under stress. The Embassy further recommends carrying a printed emergency contact card as a backup, and staying aware of the nearest safe location as you move about the city. As always, U.S. citizens should exercise caution, remain vigilant, maintain situational awareness at all times, vary routes, and take appropriate security precautions to ensure their own safety.
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) at travel.state.gov. 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.
Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Mali. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.
Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.