Government Removal of Unlicensed Retailers May Provoke Demonstrations
March 6, 2014
The U.S. Embassy in Mali is issuing this security message to inform U.S. citizens of the possibility of demonstrations or protests in connection with the Government of Mali’s removal of unlicensed retailers, and to remind U.S. citizens to remain vigilant.
In February 2014, the Mayor of Bamako sent a letter to retailers and traders unions ordering the removal of illegal stalls and stores set up along main roads and avenues all over Bamako. On Monday, March 3, Malian National Police and Gendarmerie forces began physically removing these stalls and businesses with heavy machinery. Although the Government of Mali publicly announced this intended action almost a month ago, with no known protests to date, the possibility nevertheless exists that shop owners and supporters may react with demonstrations. While most demonstrations in Bamako are generally contained and non-violent, they can get out of control very quickly. If you happen to be in an area in which a demonstration occurs, try to leave the area quickly. If this is not possible, maintain a low profile until such time as you are able to get out of the area.
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Mali, given continuing aspirations of terrorists to conduct attacks. It strongly warns against travel to the northern parts of the country and along the border with Mauritania, particularly in areas that are not patrolled and where there is little to no security presence. There remains ongoing conflict in northern Mali and continuing threats of attacks on and kidnappings of westerners and others. While the security situation in Bamako and southern Mali remains relatively stable, the potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Bamako, remains.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mali despite the Travel Warning for Mali 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.
Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, (including the Travel Warning for Mali), Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Mali. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” 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, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App 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.