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Reviewed: 15 August 2012, 15:50 NZDT
Still current at: 21 May 2013
There is high risk to your security throughout Mauritania and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel due to the threat from terrorism and kidnapping and the unpredictable security situation.
There is extreme risk to your security in western and northern regions of Mauritania, particularly in the border areas adjacent with Mali, Algeria, and Western Sahara due to activities of extremist groups and the risk of banditry and kidnapping. Land mines also remain a threat along the border with Western Sahara. We advise against all travel to these areas. There are continuing reports that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the terrorist group responsible for the kidnapping of foreign hostages in North Africa, is active throughout this region and poses a significant security threat. Joint military patrols set up by Mali and Mauritania to fight AQIM militants continue to conduct military operations in the border areas. There is a risk of retaliatory attacks against Western targets by AQIM.
Drug trafficking and other criminal activity has been increasing in remote Saharan zones. Armed Tuareg rebels operate in the Saharan-Mauritania region, in areas extending north beyond the line between Zouérat and Oualata. Travellers have been attacked and thefts of personal belongings and vehicles have occurred.
There is high threat from terrorism in Mauritania. Terrorist attacks could be directed against any locations known to be frequented by foreigners, as well as premises and symbols associated with the Government of Mauritania. New Zealanders in Mauritania are advised to exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times.
There is a high risk of kidnapping against westerners throughout Mauritania. New Zealanders should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times when travelling in Mauritania and avoid unnecessary travel in remote areas.
There have been a number of demonstrations in the capital, Nouakchott, over the past few months. Some involved clashes between security forces and demonstrators. There is a possibility of further demonstrations and developments elsewhere in the region may also trigger public unrest. New Zealanders in Mauritania are advised to avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings as these may turn violent with little warning.
We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Mauritania at this time due to the unpredictable security situation. If you do decide to travel to Mauritania, you should exercise extreme caution. If you are in Mauritania, avoid unnecessary local travel and monitor the media and other local information sources for information about possible new safety or security risks, and adhere to any instructions or restrictions imposed by the local authorities.
General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Mauritania should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air. You should also check your travel insurance covers travel to Mauritania - exclusions may apply.
New Zealanders in Mauritania are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Mauritania, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited.