PARIS Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said on Tuesday he felt well and would return to his West African state "in the next few days" after recuperating in Paris from a shooting accident last month.
Aziz, an ally of the West in its fight against al Qaeda in Africa, was flown to France on October 14 after his government said a military patrol had fired on his convoy accidentally.
"I intend to return very soon, in the next few days," he told journalists in Paris after meeting French President Francois Hollande.
"I'm doing very well. I'm beginning to recover ... but I am trying to move things along and it will be fine," said Aziz, speaking softly and a little out of breath.
Rumors have abounded in the coup-prone nation since the president's shooting, with many questioning the government's official version of events.
Aziz was discharged from hospital last month and his failure to return to Mauritania has raised questions about who is running the country in his absence.
Mauritania is a neighbor of Mali, whose north has been seized by al Qaeda-linked Islamists. Aziz said the situation across the Sahel zone to the south of the Sahara was difficult but said there was will among the countries of the region to deal with the rise in insecurity.
(Reporting by John Irish; writing by Mark John; editing by Daniel Flynn)