—By Domani Spero
Something you might add to the “You might be in the Foreign Service” list … if your kids get picked up from school by a motorcade of armored vehicles, and they all looked calm:
“On February 1 (2012), Saharan nomads known as Tuaregs captured the city of Menaka in Northern Mali. It was the latest prize in their most recent rebellion, which began in mid-January. On February 2, in the capital Bamako, approximately 1,000 protesters expressed their anger about the government’s handling of these Tuareg incursions. The mob’s activity blocked bridges between the U.S. Embassy and two schools attended by the U.S. Mission’s children. Three dozen children sheltered in place until they could be retrieved safely by a motorcade of armored vehicles organized by DS agents at the Embassy.”
A quick backgrounder: on April 3, 2012 the State Department issued a Travel Warning for Maliwarning US citizens against travel there and announced the authorized departure of non-emergency personnel and all eligible family members of U.S. Embassy personnel. See US Embassy Mali Goes on Authorized Departure for Non-Emergency Staff and Family Members.
The U.S. Department of State extended the Authorized Departure status for an additional thirty days starting May 2, 2012. On May 7, 2012, the embassy reopened. On August 29, 2012, it lifted the Authorized Departure of non-emergency personnel and all eligible family members of U.S. Embassy personnel.
On January 18, 2013, the Department of State again 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.
On February 18, the Department of State renewed a 30-day ordered departure for all family members of official personnel (except for spouses working at the Embassy), a decision that it said will be reassessed after another 30-day period.
On March 20, 2013, the Department of State partially lifted the ordered departure status in effect for family members of official personnel. The departure status renewed a 30-day ordered departure for school-age children of official personnel, but instituted a 30-day authorized departure for adult family members and children not in school. The Department of State renewed the same status on April 19, and again on May 19, 2013. It said it will reassess this decision after another 30-day period.
Based on the notice the embassy posted, the AO has not been lifted as of this writing.
- Mali’s army accuses Tuaregs of violating peace deal (dailystar.com.lb)
- Mali lifts state of emergency (bbc.co.uk)
- Malian Army Clashes With Tuareg Rebels Near Anefis (abcnews.go.com)