(Bloomberg) -- Benin is in discussions with Rwanda about providing logistical support and military expertise to help fight Islamist insurgent on its northern border, a Benin government official said Friday. 

“Talks are ongoing,” government spokesman Wilfried Houngbedji said in a text message after Africa Intelligence reported Rwanda may deploy as many as 700 troops citing details of visits by Beninese military officials to Rwanda.

The first troops may arrive in October if negotiations are completed this month, the Paris-based publication reported, saying only a few regional heads of state have been informed. Initially, 350 troops would be deployed and that number may then be doubled, it said.

“The agreement wouldn’t include the deployment of Rwandan troops on the ground,” Houngbedji said. 

Benin is one of a number of coastal West African nations becoming increasingly concerned about a growing Islamist-militant insurgency in the region, with incursions from landlocked nations such as Burkina Faso and Mali. Rwanda has already deployed troops to Mozambique and the Central African Republic to help fight rebels. 

“We have an existing defense cooperation between our two countries,” Rwanda Defence Force spokesman Ronald Rwivanga said, declining to comment further. 


(Updates with comment from Benin government official from lead.)

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