Malian youths looking on as French soldiers drive down a street in Niono January 20, 2013.(AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)
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French troops are still in Mali a year and a half after they were sent there for a targeted operation against extremists.That's because the region's terrorist problem hasn't gone away: French troops merely dispersed Mali's Al-Qaeda-linked militants, and their potential ties with Nigerian militant group Boko Haram are of increasing concern to the French government.The redeployment of 3,000 French troops in five of its former colonies across northwest Africa is expected to become official in the coming days. Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived Wednesday in Mali, and President Francois Hollande is starting a three-day visit to Ivory Coast, Niger and Chad Thursday.A French soldier was killed Monday by a suicide attack while taking part in a reconnaissance mission in northern Mali.The number of soldiers in the region will remain roughly the same, with some 1,000 of them staying in northern Mali.
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