France tells its citizens to leave Mali
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The French foreign ministry has advised its citizens in Mali "whose presence is not essential" to leave the country, as Tuareg rebels sieze towns across northern Mali in the wake of the military coup.
"It is recommended not to travel to Mali until further notice," said a statement on the French foreign ministry's travel advice website after the rebels last week took several northern towns, including Timbuktu.
"Given the instability of the security situation currently prevailing in the country, notably in Bamako, it is recommended that our compatriots whose presence is not essential temporarily leave the country," the statement said.
There are around 5,000 French nationals in Mali which is a former French colony.
Mali's political situation is growing increasingly chaotic after the internationally-condemned coup which forced President Amadou Toumani Touré to flee. He is in hiding in the capital Bamako, but has said he is safe.