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Page last updated at 08:11 GMT, Tuesday, 22 January 2013

West Africa situation 'will not be easy'

It is nearly a week since news first emerged of the attack on a gas plant in Algeria in what was to become the most serious hostage crisis involving British nationals in recent years.

The attack and the siege that followed is now over and it has been confirmed that 38 hostages - including three from Britain - and 29 militants died.

The Today programme's reporter Tom Bateman explains that details have been slow to emerge - not least due to the remote location of the site, deep in the Sahara desert.

Commenting on the situation in Mali as well as the future the region including Algeria, David Scheffer, an ambassador at large for war crimes during the Clinton administration, and who advised the former American secretary of state Madeleine Albright, explained that "what lies ahead is not going to be an easy task."

"This is a question of how the United States supports France" he said, with reference to French deployments of troops on the ground in Mali.

He went on to add that the "use of drones" will be considered.

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