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Jan. 25, 2019, marks the halfway point of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) deployment of a helicopter Task Force to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the rotation of deployed personnel into and out of theatre.
During a Transfer of Command Authority ceremony held in Gao, Mali, Col Chris McKenna, outgoing Commander Task Force (TF) Mali, handed over command responsibility to Col Travis Morehen, incoming Commander TF Mali.
“Operation Presence delivers a world-class aeromedical evacuation capability for the UN and by doing so, saves lives in Mali. Our operations guarantee our partners have the confidence to manoeuvre on the ground and that we are here to support them. We are proud to have been part of MINUSMA and contribute to the stabilization of the Sahel. My team has my unwavering respect and admiration for a job well done,” said McKenna.
As outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged–Canada’s Defence Policy–UN peace operations are an important tool for the international community to promote and support peace and security around the world. Through Operation Presence, CAF personnel are providing a critical aeromedical evacuation and air transport capability that is saving the lives of peacekeepers and civilians in the operational area.
“I am extremely honoured to lead this rotation of 250 Canadian Armed Forces members operating alongside our MINUSMA partners. Our task is noble and our purpose clear: we bring a highly-effective, aeromedical capability that ultimately saves lives and allows greater freedom of movement for our international partners working to stabilize the region. I can think of few things more rewarding than helping a country provide its people with better security and prosperity for the future,” stated Morehen.
This contribution is part of an integrated, whole-of-government approach in Mali built on nearly five decades of co-operation in the development, humanitarian, and security sectors. It also delivers on Canada’s commitment to increase its support for UN peace operations and help the UN respond to the complex and broad challenges it is facing in its missions around the world.
Minister of Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan said, “Through Operation Presence, the women and men of our Canadian Armed Forces are providing critical support to MINUSMA to help set conditions for durable peace, development, and prosperity in Mali. Congratulations and thank you to all CAF members who have just returned home from their deployment. I am confident that the next rotation of CAF personnel will continue to deliver lifesaving medical evacuation support to further assist MINUSMA in its mission.”