Mali's leading opposition figure Soumaila Cisse was reportedly kidnapped along with six others in Timbuktu region on Wednesday, March 25. Cisse and his delegation were campaigning near Niafunke ahead of legislative elections slated to be held on Sunday, March 29, when unidentified gunmen ambushed the group. At least one of Cisse's bodyguards was killed and two others were wounded in the attack. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.
Due to the presence of various armed groups, Mali's northern and central regions remain unstable despite a French-led intervention launched in 2013 that drove many extremists from their strongholds.
The security environment in Mali remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
Due to the underlying terrorist and kidnapping threats prevalent in the country, all those present in Mali are advised to remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners, to remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.