A dozen Canadian peacekeepers arrive in Mali as yearlong mission begins

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.


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Yavoriv, Ukraine Colonel Victor Kopachinskiy, Commander of the 80th Airmobile Regiment, along with Captain Robert Colbourne and Lieutenant Colonel Roch Pelletier, Commander of 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e RŽgiment, address C Company after a parachute landing during Exercise Rapid Trident 2011. Thirty-one Canadian Forces paratroopers have undergone Ukrainian paratrooper training from Ukrainian paratroopers of the 80th Airborne Regiment in Lviv, Ukraine, 2011. From July 19 to 23, Canadian soldiers prepared for Exercise Rapid Trident 2011 where they will use Ukrainian paratrooper equipment and aircraft, a first for any NATO country. Rapid Trident 2011 is an exercise held from July 25 to August 5, 2011, that involves approximately 1,600 personnel from 13 NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations: Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, the UK, USA and Canada. This year, Exercise Rapid Trident 2011 consists of a multi-national airborne operation and field training exercise that is hosted by Ukraine in support of UkraineÕs Annual National Program to achieve interoperability with NATO. The complete Canadian delegation is represented by 25 paratroopers from C Company, 3e Battalion Royal 22e RŽgiment, augmented by four reserve paratroopers, two parachute riggers from Canadian Forces Land Advanced Warfare Center and one medical technician from 5 Field Ambulance with paratrooper qualifications, and representatives of ADM (Pol) and ADM (PA), for a total of 35 personnel. Canadian soldiers are participating only in the first week of Exercise Rapid Trident 2011 where, along with troops from Partnership for Peace countries, they will jump from Ukrainian Illusion 76 aircraft and MI-8 helicopters. Held at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv, Ukraine, Exercise Rapid Trident 2011 is designed to enhance joint combined interoperability with allied and partner nations to achi
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GAO, Mali — About a dozen Canadian troops landed at a UN base in Mali this morning, marking the official start of a yearlong 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.

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.

 

The Canadian Press


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