Canada to send soldiers, medical staff, and helicopters to Mali: Government Sources
Canada will send helicopters and support troops, including medical staff, to join a United Nations peace-keeping mission in the troubled West African nation of Mali later this year, a senior Canadian government source said (As reported by Reuters).
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan is to provide details of the number of troops on Monday, about what will be Canada’s first mission to Africa since Rwanda in 1994.
Trudeau promised in 2016 to send up to 600 troops to U.N. peacekeeping operations in Mali, where soldiers under the U.N. are fighting Islamist militants. More than 80 people deployed through the U.N. have been killed in Mali since 2013, making it the world’s deadliest peace-keeping operation.
The Canadian government in November said it would hold off on announcing the deployment of troops to Mali as it reviewed strategy for participating in U.N. peacekeeping missions.
It said it would offer transport aircraft and helicopters in a series of “smart pledge” initiatives, splitting soldiers among various missions with no more than 200 going to any spot and helping to train peacekeepers.
Four United Nations peacekeepers were killed and four wounded in late February when a mine exploded under their vehicle in central Mali. The peacekeeping mission, known by the acronym MINUSMA, currently has more than 13,000 military personnel and 1,900 police. They have been deployed in Mali since 2013 to counter the jihadist insurgency and general lawlessness. Canada’s contingent to MINUSMA will also include police and will provide “logistical support and assistance” during a planned 12-month mission, the government source said, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose countries are already part of MINUSMA.
Source: Vanguard News, US News, Toronto Sun, Reuters. The Kootneeti Team - U.N & International Organisations Desk
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team