French-German brigade to train troops in Mali in what German leader says is a 1st in 100 years

For the first time since the start of World War I, a French-German brigade will be deployed to Africa, to help train soldiers and police in Mali in the aftermath of France's intervention to uproot Islamic extremists there.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, visiting Paris on Wednesday, said the deployment of some 250 troops, likely in the spring, is "of great symbolic value." They will be part of the European Union training mission in Mali.

France intervened in its former colony in west Africa in January 2013, ending the hold of radicals on the vast north but scattering many.

Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers are in Mali, and the French deployment, while downsizing, remains there.

Malians are meant to assure security in a future stable Mali.