Do not travel to Mali due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping
Violent crime, such as kidnapping and armed robbery, is common in the regions of northern and central Mali. Violent crime is a particular concern during local holidays and seasonal events in Bamako, its suburbs, and Mali’s southern regions. Roadblocks and random police checkpoints are commonplace throughout the country, especially at night.
Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting kidnappings and attacks in Mali. They may attack with little or no warning, targeting night clubs, hotels, restaurants, places of worship, Western diplomatic missions, and other locations frequented by foreigners.
The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the northern and central regions of Mali as U.S. government employees travel to these regions is restricted due to security concerns.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Mali, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Mali:
- Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
- Draft a will, and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
- Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
- Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States. Find a suggested list of such documents here.
- Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
- Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify whom you would contact first and how they should share the information.
- Identify key sources of possible assistance for you and your family in case of emergency, such as the local U.S. embassy or consulate, FBI, the State Department, your employer (if traveling on business), and local friends/family in the high-risk area.
- Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and Members of Congress if you are taken hostage or detained.
- Establish a proof of life protocol with your loved ones so that, if you are taken hostage, your loved ones will know specific questions and answers to ask the hostage-takers to be sure you are alive and to rule out a hoax.
- Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
- Guard your passport and wallet when in crowded outdoor areas and open-air markets.
- Be vigilant for pickpockets, especially at night.
- Use all available safety measures in your home or hotel, including locking doors and windows at all times, and setting the alarm.
- If asked to stop by police, stop only in well-lit areas or places where several officers are posted.
- Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
- Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Mali.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to the Risk Indicators.