The Malian and Mauritanian Armies have, for the first time, set up joint patrols in the northern Mali Desert to strengthen their fight against Al-Qaeda militants.

Hundreds of armed Malian soldiers and military vehicles including armoured cars joined Mauritanian troops 80km north of Timbuktu.

The first ever joint patrols held between the two armies will continue for an unknown period of time, according to Agence France Presse.

The Mauritanian Army conducted several operations in the north of Mali in July and September to prevent Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attacks on its territory.

The army chiefs of staff from Mali, Mauritania, Algeria and Niger decided in September to strengthen their fight against AQIM in the desert area shared by these four states.