US Embassy Mali Now on Ordered Departure for Family Members

Late today, the State Department updated its January 16, 2013 Travel Warning for Mali. Once again warning against all travel to Mali because of ongoing fighting in northern and central Mali, the new Travel Warning now includes the announcement that it has ordered the departure all family members not employed at the embassy, for up to 30 days.

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Mali because of ongoing fighting in northern and central Mali, fluid political conditions, the loss of government control of Mali’s Northern provinces, and continuing threats of attacks and kidnappings of westerners.  While the security situation in Bamako remains relatively stable, the recent escalation of hostilities around Mopti in northern Mali has heightened tensions throughout the country.  Mali continues to face challenges including food shortages, internally displaced persons, and the presence in northern Mali of factions linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).  On January 18, the Department of State ordered the departure of all dependent family members who are not employed at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali, for a period of up to 30 days.

The Malian government has banned all public demonstrations and Interim President Dioncounda Traore declared a State of Emergency effective January 12.  The state of emergency, which will last for 10 days with a possibility for extension, enables the government to take extraordinary measures to deal with the crisis in the north.  As a result of safety and security concerns, some organizations, including foreign companies, NGOs, and private aid organizations, have temporarily suspended operations in Mali or withdrawn some family members and/or staff.  The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor this situation closely and update U.S. citizens via Emergency Messages which it will post on the U.S. Embassy Bamako website.

Read in full here.

This is the second post to go on ordered departure evac within the last four weeks; the first one went on authorized departure, then went straight to suspension of operation in early January (see After reopening in 2005, U.S. Embassy Bangui suspends operations. Again.).

We’re not sure if the evacuated families will be sent back to the D.C. area.  As the ordered departure is up to 30 days at this time, we are guessing that they probably will be safe-havened at another post in the region.  Which does not make this any easier, but if they are temporarily relocated within the region, at least they will not be going from one weather zone to another in the middle of winter, each with just one packed bag.