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Leave Mali, London tells citizens

April 9, 2012 at 10:08 AM

LONDON, April 9 (UPI) -- The British government advised against all travel to Mali and called on its citizens to leave the country because of ongoing violence.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced it reviewed its assessment of the security situation in Mali. "The overall level of the advice has not changed," the agency said in a statement. "We advise against all travel to Mali and British Nationals should leave now by commercial means."

President Amadou Toumani Toure resigned last weekend, several days after a military-led coup.

Djibril Bassole, the foreign minister from Burkina Faso acting as an international mediator to the crisis, confirmed Toure's resignation. Parliamentary Speaker Dioncounda Traore will serve as interim president until elections take place before the end of May, the BBC reports.

The Economic Community of West African States is said to be preparing a 3,000-man force to respond to a rebel crisis in northern Mali, the BBC said.

Last week, rebel forces in the north declared independence for the region they call Azawad. Tuareg rebels returned to Mali from fighting alongside forces loyal to former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, creating tensions in the West African country.

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