The Canadian government of Justin Trudeau has just accepted the plans of its military staff to return to Mali next month to work with the Romanian peacekeepers. This will prevent an interruption of medical evacuations that had been carried out for more than a year by Canadian helicopters.
Remember that the 12-month Canadian mission was supposed to end at the end of July, but the federal government extended medical evacuation by one month.
Canadian peacekeepers on the ground will still end their mission in Mali on Saturday and begin repatriating their helicopters and equipment after more than a year of military presence in this vast country in West Africa.
On the other hand, the Canadian Army will continue to support Romanians in the field to make a smooth transition. These Romanian soldiers, who started arriving in Mali with the help of a Canadian Forces transport plane, should not be ready to fully carry out medical evacuation missions by mid-October.
To make sure they are ready, Colonel Travis Morehen, commander of the Canadian contingent, reveals that some of his soldiers who returned home last month would come back for a week in September to teach the workings of the mission to their Romanian replacements.
This team includes helicopter crews, medical personnel and intelligence officers.
The UN, which is subject to reduced peacekeeping budgets, had asked Canada to keep all its peacekeepers in Mali until mid-October in order to avoid a break between the end of the Canadian mission and the beginning of that of Romanians.
Canada also sends 20 police officers to Mali as part of a UN mission
Nearly three weeks ago, Canada told the United Nations that it also plans to honor its commitment to send 20 police officers by the end of 2019 to support the peacekeeping mission in Mali. according to the commander of the RCMP in this West African country.
Countries around the world send a total of some 1,700 officers.
Superintendent Kelly Bradshaw explained that 10 police officers were already deployed in this UN mission that tries to bring stability in a context of ethnic and jihadist insurgency. "By the end of the year, our goal is to have 20 policemen in Mali," she said.
This decision came at a time when Ottawa was considering increasing the deployment levels of its police officers in UN missions and other organizations. As of July 24, 77 Canadian police were deployed in peace and stabilization roles around the world, including in Ukraine, Haiti, Iraq and the West Bank.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the RCMP's participation in peacekeeping operations. The first mission took place in 1989 when the RCMP sent 100 members to Namibia.
RCI with Canadian Press and Radio-Canada contribution
United Nations Theater of Operations in Mali: 10 Blue Helmets Wounded by a Mine – RCI
Mali: the problem of security according to Niagalé Bagayoko – RCI
Announced Extension of Canadian Mission Presence Mali for One Month – RCI