News story

Foreign Office warns of high risk of kidnap in Mauritania, Mali and Niger

There is a history of kidnap in Mauritania, Mali and Niger and the risk of terrorist attacks remains high. The Foreign Office urges anyone travelling to the area to heed the travel advice.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

On 7 January two French nationals were kidnapped from a restaurant in Niamey, the capital of Niger and were later murdered. On 16 September 2010 seven foreign nationals were kidnapped in Niger and are still being held. There is a high risk of terrorist attack from groups such as an Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M).

Foreign Office Minister responsible for consular affairs, Jeremy Browne said:

“North and West Africa contains some of the most spectacular areas of natural beauty on the continent. It is a destination popular with tourists seeking new cultures and experiences. However, last week’s tragedy is a stark reminder of the dangers in the region.

“The number of kidnappings is increasing. Two French nationals were kidnapped and brutally killed in the most recent incident and our thoughts are with their families. Seven hostages have been held in the Mali desert since September. Among the other victims of kidnapping, a French national was murdered in 2010 and a British national was murdered in 2009.

“The welfare of British nationals remains our number one concern and I would urge anyone travelling to any country in the area to read our travel advice very carefully. We currently advise against all travel to parts of Mauritania, Mali and Niger. “

Updates to this page

Published 13 January 2011