Sept. 4 (UPI) — Canada announced the conclusion of its peacekeeping mission in Mali as over 200 soldiers prepared to return home.
About 1,250 Canadian Armed Forces members were deployed during the year-long mission, known as Operation Presence-Mali. Their involvement in the ongoing United Nations-led mission included medical evacuation and logistic and transport capabilities.
“The professionalism of Canadian Armed Forces members was on display throughout the past year in Mali,” Lt. Gen. Mike Rouleau, commander Canadian Joint Operations Command, said at departure ceremonies on Sunday. “I am beyond impressed with the work our people have done to support peace operations in Africa.”
Canadian forces have been in Gao, Mali, since July 2018, and delivered 370,000 pounds of cargo during 4,000 flying hours, using eight helicopters and four C-17 cargo planes, a Royal Canadian Air Force statement said.
The troops will be replaced by a helicopter detachment from Romania, and a small transition team will remain in Gao to minimize disruptions. Canada will also provide the U.N. with tactical support for it Malian mission from Entebbe, Uganda, for the next 12 months.
Some in Canada have questioned the country’s decision to end its brief mission, as Canada seeks a rotating seat at the United Nations Security Council.