President Francois Hollande of France warns that the Sahel region in Africa remains a security threat.
His comments came Thursday in the Ivory Coast as an Islamist group claimed responsibility for a suicide bomber attack that killed a French soldier and injured six others earlier this week in northern Mali.
Abu Assem Al-Muhajir, a spokesman for the group Al-Mourabitoun, said the attack was carried out in response to claims made by the French that they had annihilated the Islamic fighters.
Al-Mourabitoun was formed last year in a merger between the Mulathameen brigade, and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa. Both groups had been active in northern Mali.
French troops are reorganizing to combat terrorism in Mali’s southern Sahara and Sahel region.
They were sent to the country in January to retake a desert region Mali lost control of to Islamist extremists. The French were concerned the groups would use the rural area to wage attacks against neighboring countries.
The French president is on a three nation African tour that includes Ivory Coast, Niger and Chad.