Britons urged to leave Mali as rebel gunmen attack northern city of Gao ten days after claiming capital
British citizens currently in Mali, in west Africa are being urged to leave.
The Foreign Office has changed its travel advice, urging all but those who have urgent business there to leave.
The new advice follows an attempted coup last week and specifically warns those in the capital, Bamako, to be cautious.
The new advice follows an attempted coup last week and specifically warns those in the capital, Bamako, to be cautious
In a statement, the Foreign Office said: ‘We advise against all travel to Mali and you should leave if you have no pressing need to remain.’
It said a curfew that had been imposed from 6pm to 6am had now been lifted, but added: ‘We continue to advise British nationals in Bamako to exercise caution and stay away from crowds and demonstrations when travelling around the city.
‘There have been reports of some shops beginning to run low on supplies and of long queues forming outside some banks.
Soldiers walk through the looted presidential palace days after mutinous soldiers claimed power in a coup, in Bamako
‘Given ongoing instability in the country, and now that the airport has re-opened, you should leave if you have no pressing need to remain.’
Rebels have already attacked Mali’s strategic northern city of Gao, a day after they took the provincial capital of Kidal.
The two towns are major prizes for the Tuareg rebels, who launched an insurgency in January that was fueled by the flow of arms from the fall of neighboring Libya, where many of the rebels had been on the payroll of ex-Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.
A curfew that had been imposed from 6pm to 6am has now been lifted
If Gao falls, the only other major city in Mali’s north in government hands is Timbuktu.
A soldier based in a military camp on the outskirts of Gao said he could hear the sound of heavy weapons being fired on Saturday.
A resident in Gao said that he had seen the Tuareg fighters in the city and that there were brief gunbattles in the town. He said people had barricaded themselves at home.
Rebels have already attacked Mali’s strategic northern city of Gao, a day after they took the provincial capital of Kidal
The soldier and the resident requested anonymity because they feared retribution.
Mali is now facing severe economic sanctions over the coup.
A representative of the military junta that seized control of Mali in a coup last week says the group is confident they will find a solution to the crisis after meeting with Burkina Faso’s president.
Col. Moussa Coulibaly told reporters after Saturday’s meeting in Burkina Faso that the junta delegation is ‘leaving feeling confident, and we hope that in the briefest possible period that we will reach a consensus on how to restore the institutions of the state in a way that will be acceptable to the world.l
Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore is one of five regional leaders actively involved in trying to mediate a return to constitutional order after the March 21 coup.
Compaore and the other presidents have given the junta a 72-hour deadline to hand power back to civilians, which expires Monday.