Mauritanian authorities have confirmed that they have arrested five men suspected of links to extremist organisations operating in northern Mali, after they attempted to enter Mauritanian territories.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hamady Walad Hamady has claimed that the security operation proves that Mauritania wants to secure its borders and rid the country of extremist elements.
The minister has explained that the individuals were detained as they tried to enter Mauritania among refugees from the Malian province of Azawad.
Hamady says that security officials are still questioning the men, and has paid tribute to the efforts carried out by the Mauritanian authorities to serve interests of both the Malian and Mauritanian people.
The government official has urged the United Nations' Friends of Mali group to arrange regular meetings and help deepen the cooperation between Mali and Mauritania. He adds that the region is still facing serious security threats and warns that neighbouring countries must remain vigilant.
Meanwhile, leader of Islamist militant organisation al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Yahya Abou el-Hammam has threatened to target the countries directly or indirectly supporting the war in Mali.
In a statement, the Algerian has warned that AQIM would target the national resources of "warring states."