Canada to send helicopters, troops to aid UN's Mali mission

Angelo Anderson
March 20, 2018

Canada will deploy an infantry unit and military trainers along with attack and transport helicopters to Mali for 12 months in support of an ongoing United Nations peacekeeping mission, the government announced on Monday.

It will deploy 250 personnel along with two Chinook transport helicopters and four-armed Griffon choppers.

"We are aware of the complexities and the difficulties of the situation in Mali". The mission will include six helicopters and some support troops, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday, adding that the deployment will be 12 months.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to return Ottawa to peacekeeping after more than a decade of dwindling participation.

Trudeau promised in 2016 to send up to 600 troops to United Nations peace-keeping operations in Mali, where soldiers under the United Nations are fighting Islamist militants.

Ottawa later put the plans on hold amid fears of casualties, angering allies who said they felt let down.

Diplomats welcomed Monday's announcement, saying it would help peacekeepers operate without interruption.

James Bezan, defense spokesman for the official opposition Conservative Party, accused the Liberals of sending troops to a highly risky country for partisan promises.

But Selkirk-Interlake MP and defence critic James Bezan says the move raises more questions than answers and wonders if the mission is in the national interest - or the Liberals'.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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