Operation Presence - Mali
(Source: Canadian Armed Forces; issued Aug 31, 2018)
A Canadian CH-146 Griffon helicopter lands at its base at Gao, Mali. Canada’s helicopter detachment, comprising three CH-147F Chinooks and five Griffons supported by 250 personnel, attained Full Operational Capability on August 15. (DND photo)
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is supporting the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). This is part of the Government of Canada’s overall efforts to help set conditions for durable peace, development, and prosperity in Mali.

Operation PRESENCE - Mali will be twelve months long. The core mission is to provide MINUSMA with the 24/7 capability to medically evacuate UN forces by air. CAF members are also supporting MINUSMA headquarters.

When possible, the CAF provides other services:
-- transport troops, equipment, and supplies
-- logistics support

CAF members have joined 56 MINUSMA partner countries in their efforts to bring sustainable peace and stability to Mali and the Sahel.

Air Task Force

The Air Task Force is located in Gao, in northern Mali. It includes the following components:
-- three CH-147F Chinook helicopters
-- five CH-146 Griffon helicopters
-- approximately 250 personnel

The CH-147F Chinook helicopters are available to conduct medical evacuations. They can also conduct other missions to support MINUSMA, such as:
-- transport troops, equipment, supplies, and food
-- help with the rapid deployment of UN forces in Mali

The CH-146 Griffon helicopters fly as armed escorts for the Chinooks. They could also carry out other critical missions for MINUSMA as required.

One of each type of helicopter is a spare. These spare aircraft will make sure that the CAF is always ready to support MINUSMA.

Headquarters support

Up to 10 CAF members work as staff officers at the MINUSMA headquarters in Bamako, Mali. They support MINUSMA operations. They will not be directly connected to the Canadian Air Task Force.

Mission context

In mid-January 2012, armed groups led a rebellion in north Mali. This was followed by a military coup on March 22, 2012. A military junta took power, suspended the Constitution and dissolved government institutions. Later that year, government forces in the south were overrun. Regional actors intervened in the crisis and created an agreement to establish a transitional government.

MINUSMA was established by UN Security Council resolution 2100 on April 25, 2013. The goal was to support political processes in Mali and carry out a number of security-related tasks. MINUSMA was asked to support Mali’s transitional authorities to stabilize the country and implement a plan for the transition.

On June 28, 2018, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2423. It decided that the MINUSMA should focus on the following:
-- support political and institutional reform
-- support defence, security, and stability
-- support reconciliation and justice
-- protect civilians, including against asymmetric threats
-- promote and protect human rights
-- conduct humanitarian assistance

Timeline

-- November 2017 – The Government of Canada announced its return to peace operations, including a range of Smart Pledges. These were aimed at making the best use of Canada’s expertise.
-- November 15, 2017 – The Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers were launched
-- March 19, 2018 – The Government of Canada announced it would deploy an Air Task Force to MINUSMA for one year.
-- June 24, 2018 – The first members of the theatre activation team arrived in Mali. From late June to the end of July, approximately 280 CAF members completed a number of logistics tasks to prepare for the arrival of the task force.
-- July 9, 2018 – Colonel Chris McKenna assumed command of Task Force Mali
-- July 15, 2018 – The first CH-147F Chinook and CH-146 Griffon helicopters arrived in Gao, Mali.
-- August 1, 2018 – The task force reached initial operating capability. They became available to conduct evacuations by air.
-- August 15, 2018 – The task force reached full operating capability. (Emphasis added—Ed.) They are now available to fly other types of missions in support of MINUSMA.

The mission will be complete in the end of July, 2019.

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