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The leaders of Gambia and Mauritania recently expressed their concern over the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region as northern Mali remains occupied by Tuareg and Islamist rebels. In a statement released after a three-day visit by Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh to Nouakchott the two leaders expressed 'their deep concern over the serious threat to peace and stability in the Sahel-Sahara sub-region following the Libyan crisis.' Armed groups, particularly the Tuareg separatist rebels, who seized northern Mali in the wake of a March coup, were boosted by weapons brought back with them from the war in Libya.