The British Embassy in Mali has been closed as violent unrest continues to escalate in the wake of a military coup.

British nationals living and working in the troubled Saharan state were told to get out of the country earlier this week.
Now staff are being withdrawn from the British Embassy, meaning those British nationals who choose to remain in the country against official advice will have limited access to help.
Foreign Office spokesman said: "Given the unstable and unpredictable situation in Mali and the continuing lack of constitutional rule, the UK has decided to temporarily withdraw its staff from its embassy in Bamako and temporarily suspend all in-country services immediately, including consular assistance.
"Consular assistance will continue to be provided to British nationals from our embassy in Dakar (in neighbouring Senegal) but the UK's ability to help British nationals who chose to remain in Mali may become limited.
"We have recommended since April 4 that British nationals should leave Mali as soon as possible by commercial means."
Mali has been in political crisis since a military coup in March which toppled President Amadou Toumani Toure and the elected government for failing to stop the advance of Tuareg rebels in the north of the country.
The rebels have been fighting for independence for the northern half of Mali for decades.
They have now declared independence for what they called the Azawad nation after making significant territorial gains recently, including taking the World Heritage Site of Timbuktu.


France rejects Tuareg independence move

France rejects Tuareg independence move

France on Friday rejected the Tuarag rebel group proclamation of an independent state in northern Mali, according to foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero. The African Union also rejected the 'Azawad' state.

By News Wires (text)
AFP - France rejected on Friday the declaration of an independent Tuareg homeland by rebel fighters in northern Mali, and vowed to support the territorial integrity of its former colony.
"We consider that the unilateral declaration of independence of 'Azawad' is null and void," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said, after the Tuareg separatist MNLA force declared an independent homeland.
"France and the international community is attached to and defends the unity and territorial integrity of Mali," he said. The African Union also rejected the independence declaration.
Valero said France was urging the MNLA to come to a negotiated settlement with the government in Mali that would be "respectful of the constitutional order in Mali and the unity of the country."
He also condemned what he said was the "violence and looting" being carried out by two Islamist groups that are reportedly allied to the MNLA, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar Dine.
Asked whether this meant that France draws a distinction between the actions of the MNLA, which is fighting for Tuareg independence, and the Islamist rebels, Valero said, "Yes."