The colours of al-Qaeda are flying high in northern Mali, the new stronghold of Tuareg rebels who have merged with a hardline group, suspected of links with al-Qaeda's north Africa branch.

They took advantage of a military coup to forge ahead with their dream of an independent homeland. And now watching nervously is neighbouring Niger - which has also had its share of Tuareg rebellions - and Mahmadou Issoufou, the country's president.

The downfall of Gaddafi in Libya has only made matters worse.

"I have to say that what is happening in Mali is the result of the Libyan crisis - that's what caused a military coup which made things even worse," says Niger's president.

"I don't believe it was necessary to kill Gaddafi, especially the way he was killed."

Niger, already troubled by political and commercial interests, is a major uranium producer. On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, we speak to Mahmadou Issoufou, the president of a country in the crosshairs.

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Source: Al Jazeera