BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — France's interior minister is in the West African nation of Mali, where authorities believe al-Qaida-linked militants have brought seven kidnapped foreigners.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux is expected to meet Wednesday with Mali's president. The trip was previously planned to coincide with Mali's 50th anniversary of independence from France.

But French officials also believe the five French citizens abducted near a uranium mine in Niger last week are now being held in Mali as well.

In a recording broadcast by the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera late Tuesday, a voice claiming to represent al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said the group would issue its demands to the French government shortly.