News24

Britain temporarily closes Mali embassy

2012-04-06 20:05

London - Britain said on Friday it was temporarily closing its embassy in Mali due to the "unstable" situation and "lack of constitutional rule".

Mali's Tuareg rebels declared independence on Friday in the north, splitting the coup-wracked country in two, as warnings rang out of a looming humanitarian disaster in what was one of Africa's democratic success stories only a few weeks ago.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said consular assistance would be provided from the capital of neighbouring Senegal.

"Given the unstable and unpredictable situation in Mali and the continuing lack of constitutional rule, the UK has decided to temporarily withdraw its staff from its embassy in Bamako and temporarily suspend all in-country services immediately, including consular assistance," he said.

"Consular assistance will continue to be provided to British nationals from our embassy in Dakar but the UK's ability to help British nationals who chose to remain in Mali may become limited.

"We have recommended since April 4 that British nationals should leave Mali as soon as possible by commercial means."

Humanitarian groups have warned the country is on the brink of catastrophe as hundreds of thousands of people flee the unrest and rebels loot food and medicine supplies across an arid region already facing food shortages.