President Mahamadou Issoufou cut short a visit to Egypt to return to Niger, his office said in a tweet.

And he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to postpone a key security meeting in France this month to early 2020.

Despite the commitment of thousands of regional and foreign troops, militants with links to Islamic State and al Qaeda have mounted increasingly lethal attacks across West Africa’s Sahel region this year.

The area has been in crisis since 2012, when ethnic Tuareg rebels and loosely-aligned jihadists seized the northern two-thirds of Mali.

Forcing former colonial master France to intervene the following year to beat them back.

But the jihadists have since regrouped and expanded their range of influence.

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