State Dept. issues Mali travel warning

Associated Press
Malian soldiers are seen on their way to Niono, Mali, some 270 kms (180 miles) north of Bamako, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.  French troops encircled a key Malian town on Friday to stop radical Islamists from striking closer to the capital, a French official said. The move to surround Diabaly came as French and Malian authorities said they had retaken Konna, the central city whose capture prompted the French military intervention last week. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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Malian soldiers are seen on their way to Niono, Mali, some 270 kms (180 miles) north of Bamako, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. French troops encircled a key Malian town on Friday to stop radical Islamists from striking closer to the capital, a French official said. The move to surround Diabaly came as French and Malian authorities said they had retaken Konna, the central city whose capture prompted the French military intervention last week. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is telling dependents of its employees working in the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali, to leave.

In a travel warning issued Friday, the department also advises Americans against all travel to the west African nation because of fighting and Islamic militant activity in the north and central regions.

The State Department warns of attacks and kidnappings of westerners. The department also warns of food shortages, the loss of government control in some areas and the presence of militants linked to al-Qaida.

France has launched air strikes and sent troops to its former colony in attempt to regain control of the regions that have fallen to the militants.

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