France asked its citizens to leave northern and eastern Mali immediately because of an increased militant threat after a Frenchman was kidnapped in the area.
France’s foreign ministry said in a statement it was urging its citizens to leave the remote areas for the capital "due to a new worsening of the terrorist threat in the region."
Gunmen kidnapped the Frenchman last week in the town of Tinderman.
There has been a series of attacks on foreigners in Mali and Niger’s remote desert regions, where smugglers, bandits and al Qaeda-linked groups still operate after the countries quashed local uprisings.
France’s embassy in its former colony last week warned its citizens of the risk of being kidnapped in the desert regions. Charities working there have also been urged to tighten security.