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Malian foreign minister, in France, urges help fighting extremists who plant land mines

Mali's foreign minister is urging international cooperation to root out extremists who littered the north of his country with land mines and pose a terrorist threat to the region and Europe.

Tieman Hubert Coulibaly spoke in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday in Paris, where he is discussing the 3-week-old French-led military intervention against al-Qaida-linked fighters in Mali.

Land mine explosions killed four Malian soldiers and two civilians in northern Mali in recent days, and Coulibaly told AP: "Those who planted those mines there are barbarians."

He said that Mali's land mine problem shows "the large extent to which we need help."

He said his African country needs a strong military force to push out extremists who held northern Mali under harsh rule for nearly a year.