Paris - The defence minister says France will create new outposts and broaden its military presence in Africa's turbulent Sahel region to better fight the terror threat from extremist groups like al-Qaeda.
In an exclusive interview on Tuesday with The Associated Press, Jean-Yves Le Drian said France is moving toward a regional counter-terrorism approach in former French colonies like Chad, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali. French troops largely ousted al-Qaeda-linked militants from northern Mali last year.
The minister plans to detail the plan to US officials during a trip to Washington this week. France has worked closely with US forces to try to fight extremism in Africa.
Le Drian said the new plan will involve the creation of specialized posts in the region including for logistics, intelligence-gathering and airborne assets.