Mali's chief prosecutor says French soldiers in the West African nation have arrested a member of an extremist group accused of assassinating four Saudi Arabians and an American national.

Daniel Tessougue said Thursday that Cheibani Ould Hama was arrested with three other people but could provide few details. He said Cheibani was to be transferred to Bamako Thursday afternoon.

Experts say Cheibani, a Malian national, was a low-ranking member of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Officials in neighboring Niger have said he was among 22 prisoners who escaped during a June attack on the central prison in Niamey. The attack was carried out by suspected militants from the Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

In March Cheibani was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in multiple killings.