Military intervention may not be the best answer to terrorism in nations such as Mali.
The hostage situation at a hotel in the Malian capital Bamako comes after months of sporadic violence.
Gift of the Givers has sent a negotiator to Mali in an attempt to make contact with Stephen McGowan and Johan Gustafson's kidnappers.
Stephen McGowan's family have been asked to keep a low profile after French forces rescued one of his fellow al-Qaeda hostages.
Stephen McGowan's whereabouts are unknown despite the release of the Dutch national who was kidnapped alongside him in Timbuktu in 2011.
Mali has placed a total of 577 people under observation after two people died from the deadly virus in the capital Bamako.
The World Health Organisation is concerned many people were exposed to the two-year-old girl who was Mali's first confirmed Ebola case.
Malian health workers volunteered to participate in an international Ebola vaccine trial, developed by an institute in the US.
An extraordinary Ecowas security summit has announced plans for a partnership with Central African states to fight "terrorism" in the region.
The Red Cross says one of its teams in Mali is missing, which al-Qaeda-aligned group Mujao has reportedly confirmed was kidnapped by them.
A guitarist fleeing from a civil war is determined to keep playing, despite restrictions in his country.
Mali's parliamentary elections, which takes place amid an upsurge in violence by rebels, mark the country's steps to recovery after a coup last year.
A Malian arrested after a French police officer was shot at in Bamako "hates white people", sources close to the investigation told AFP on Saturday.
Shots have been fired on northern Mali's largest city of Gao less than a week before Malians vote in the legislative elections, say security sources.
Two journalists with Radio France Internationale (RFI) were found dead on Saturday after being kidnapped by armed men while working in Mali.
The interlinked fortunes of the countries in the sparely populated Sahara region have played a complex role in the causes of Mali's conflict.
The ongoing volatility in the region has left citizens terrified after a year under jihadist rule.
According to officials and residents in the area, there are at least 20 dead and many more missing after a boat accident in Mali.
France is likely to welcome a more robust South African military presence on the continent.