Canadian Armed Forces CH-147 Chinook. Photo courtesy of MINUSMA
Canadian helicopters completed their first two support missions for United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Mali, according to reports.
The Canadian Armed Forces has deployed an air task force to Gao to perform medical evacuation of injured peacekeepers during the year-long Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Canada deployed 250 military personnel, three Boeing CH47-F Chinooks heavylift helicopters and five armed Bell CH-146 Griffons earlier this summer.
One mission involved Canadian helicopters transporting a reconnaissance team supporting Dutch peacekeeping troops to remote villages in the West African nation, reports say.
The Canadian force took over from a German and Belgian helicopter unit in July. It became operational last week.
Before Canada's arrival, the German crews reportedly struggled with delays in getting approvals for medical evacuations. The U.N. secretary general said in July that the organization is facing financial troubles because of delayed contributions from its member states.