Mali kidnapping threats

This item appears on page 18 of the October 2010 issue.

The US Department of State warns of the risk of traveling to Mali and against all travel in the north. The extremist group AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb) has an “ongoing interest” in kidnapping Westerners in the Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso border area and as far south as Bamako.

On July 24, AQIM executed a French hostage in retaliation for the killing of six AQIM members during a Mauritania-launched hostage-rescue operation with French assistance in northern Mali. AQIM may attempt additional retaliatory attacks against Western targets of opportunity.

Continued Tuareg unrest, sporadic banditry and the porous nature of the borders with Algeria, Niger and Mauritania are other security concerns in northern Mali.