The Sahara Desert is becoming a new frontline in the war on terror. International troops are being drafted in to counter Islamist groups linked to so-called Islamic State and Al-Qaeda which merging are strengthening across the Sahel.
When northern Mali was overrun by Islamists in 2012, French troops forced them out – but they are still there fighting terror groups. The United Nations arrived to police a deal between rebel groups and the government but have been sucked into what’s now the UN’s most dangerous peacekeeping mission. Our Africa Correspondent Alastair Leithead joined American special forces in Niger for the first of two special reports from the Sahel.