June 24, 2018 9:17 am
Updated: June 24, 2018 8:49 pm

A dozen Canadian troops land in Mali in for year-long peacekeeping mission

WATCH: Ottawa has confirmed the Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed to Mali as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission. But as David Akin reports, the government provided few details about what could be a dangerous mission that is less about peacekeeping and more about peacemaking.

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About a dozen Canadian troops landed at a UN base in Mali this morning, marking the official start of a year-long mission to the West African nation and a new era in Canada’s long history of peacekeeping.

The contingent composed of about a dozen members flew into the northern city of Gao by Hercules transport plane and will now prepare for the arrival in the coming weeks of Canada’s entire peacekeeping force to Mali.

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The Liberal government committed two large Chinook transports and four smaller Griffin escorts for medical evacuations and transport, but the Canadian Forces is sending one more of each as spares in case any of the others break down in the harsh desert heat and dust.

The total force will include about 250 Canadian service members who will call a German-run camp outside Gao home, and from which the helicopters will operate across a broad swath of disputed territory.

The peacekeepers’ arrival in Mali is the culmination of years of promises by the Liberal government.

But it also comes amid ongoing political debate as well as questions about whether there is any peace to actually keep on the country.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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