Ottawa (STL.News) – Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces – After more than a year of operations in Mali, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) air task force (ATF) deployed in Gao completed its mission today. An important aspect of Canada’s multi-faceted support included providing critical aeromedical evacuation, logistic and transport capabilities as part of Operation PRESENCE-Mali.
In July 2018, Canada deployed an ATF composed of 250 CAF members and eight helicopters to Gao, northern Mali as part of MINUSMA, which were essential to the conduct of UN operations in remote and vulnerable areas of the country. Since then, the women and men deployed under Operation PRESENCE-Mali conducted 11 aeromedical evacuations and more than 100 transport missions. Upon ceasing transport aviation tasks on July 31, 2019, Canadian helicopters had transported approximately 2,800 passengers and delivered 370 000 pounds of cargo, over more than 4,000 flying hours.
To facilitate a smooth and efficient transition with the incoming Romanian helicopter detachment, the CAF provided four C-17 intra-theatre airlift flights to assist with the deployment of Romanian personnel and equipment to theatre. A small CAF transition team will also be deployed to assist Romania in its preparations to conduct operations. This will minimize disruptions in the availability of critical capabilities to MINUSMA forces and help set up the Romanian rotation for operational success. CAF personnel also met with Canadian civilian police officers, who are deployed with MINUSMA until March 2021, and shared lessons learned in support of their ongoing work in Mali.
Canada’s engagement in Mali is helping to achieve stability and build a brighter future for its people by promoting sustainable development, peace and security. This new phase of Canada’s comprehensive approach to Mali will include continued Canadian diplomatic, humanitarian and development assistance, as well as police and military resources and expertise.