Mali – Canada to deploy Hercules in Africa support missions

2019/02/01 – anada’s top military commander says once-a-week C-130J Hercules aircraft support missions for United Nations peacekeeping forces in Africa will begin soon.

But in a year-end interview with the CBC’s Murray Brewster., Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of Canada’s defence staff, did not say exactly when those missions would begin.

The interview was conducted prior to an surprise weekend visit to Mali by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who dined with Canadian peacekeepers and technical staff and met with Mali Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga.

Trudeau defended a limited one-year duration of Canada’s deployment of helicopters in Mali and declared the Mali mission a success, saying Canada’s approach to sharing its expertise and equipment the best way to bring about peace

The Hercules C-130J will split its time between supporting operations in Iraq and flying out of Entebbe, Uganda for the UN.

The C-130J announcement follows negotiations that four months ago appeared deadlocked over how the aircraft would be used and failure to reach a bilateral agreement with Uganda that would allow armed Canadian troops to guard it on the ground.

“This hasn’t been done before,” Vance told Brewster.

“It’s pretty new. This is Canada offering up a capability where there wasn’t necessarily a capability before.”

The plan to base a C-130J cargo plane out of Entebbe was among the first tangible proposals made by Trudeau when he announced a renewed commitment.

With files from CBC, CP, CTV, Globe and Mail

Sahel-Elite Image : A Hercules C-130J aircraft is seen at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan in 2011. A Canadian military Hercules transport will soon begin once-a-week support missions for United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, the country’s top military commander said. (Steve Rennie/Canadian Press)

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