The United States did not mention a specific threat to its employees, but said there was a heightened danger of violence affecting Westerners in a country that has been plagued by jihadist attacks for years.
“On July 29, 2022, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees and their family members due to the increased risk of terrorist attacks in areas frequented by Westerners,” the State Department said. in an updated travel advisory for Mali.
“Terrorist and armed groups continue to plot kidnappings and attacks in Mali,” the notice said, warning of attacks at locations including “nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, places of worship (and) international diplomatic missions.”
Jihadists first attacked northern Mali in 2012, joining a regional insurgency.
After being dispersed the following year by French forces, they regrouped and in 2015 launched attacks in the ethnically volatile center and cross-border incursions into Niger and Burkina Faso.
Earlier this month, the Malian army said it had thwarted a new attack on a military camp in the center of the country, just days after a deadly suicide attack on a strategic garrison town near the capital.
It was the first time since 2012 that such coordinated attacks had occurred so close to Bamako.
Mali has been run by a military junta since August 2020, when colonels angry at failures to push back jihadists ousted the country’s elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.