Terrorist Threat and Holiday Security Reminder

The U.S. Embassy in Bamako has been informed by local security forces of potential terrorist attacks in the coming weeks against unidentified establishments frequented by westerners.  Malian authorities are investigating the threat.  The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that the potential for terrorist attacks in Bamako continues to exist.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to review their personal security plans; remain aware of their surroundings; and monitor local events.

The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to be vigilant during the upcoming holiday season.  Crime rates often spike around the holidays and this upcoming holiday season is unlikely to be an exception, particularly given recent reports of armed break-ins in the ACI-2000 neighborhood, carjacking incidents, and reports of harassment by police.

Crime in Mali is rampant, indiscriminant, at times violent, and happens in all parts of Bamako and throughout the country.  The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens remember the importance of practicing the following personal security strategies:

  • Carry a fully charged cell phone on your person at all times.
  • Do not exhibit large amounts of cash when shopping.
  • Drive with windows up and doors locked.
  • Be aware of the potential for crime when moving about the city, particularly in non-daylight hours, and move at night in groups of two or more if possible.
  • Be cognizant of potential surveillance around your home, or being followed between locations.
  • Look for emergency escape routes and presence of security personnel at public venues.

If you are the victim of a crime, try your best to remain calm and begin talking with assailants to lower your/their anxiety.  Historically, most carjackings and robberies have been de-escalated by compliance and cooperation with criminals.

Traffic stops are conducted throughout Bamako.  During legitimate traffic violations, the police typically deal with the matter at the point of the incident. It is rare that police will pursue vehicles on motorcycles for legitimate traffic infractions.  Do NOT follow the police anywhere, or allow them inside your vehicle. If you are harassed by police, display your identification (diplomatic card or copy of passport bio page), and contact the Embassy.

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 acsbamako@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.