Support to French operations in Mali

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The Canadian Armed Forces supported the Government of France’s Operation SERVAL, their military intervention in the West African country of Mali, from 15 January to 31 March 2013.

Air Task Force Mali

Canada's contribution to French operations in Mali consisted of one CC-177 Globemaster III heavy lift transport aircraft and about 40 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel: flight and maintenance crews from 429 Transport Squadron and traffic technicians from 2 Air Movements Squadron, both units of 8 Wing Trenton in southern Ontario.

Air Task Force Mali conducted 48 flights to transport about 1,618,600 kilograms (3,560,920 pounds) of cargo.

The mandate of Air Task Force Mali was limited to airlift, and specifically excluded combat. The airlifts included assets such as personnel, vehicles and resupply equipment (food, water, medical equipment, etc.).

The CC-177 Globemaster III departed Trenton for Europe on 15 January 2013 and conducted the first operational sortie of this deployment on 17 January, transporting a French light armoured vehicle, medical supplies and ammunition from Evreux, France, to Bamako, the capital of Mali.

Mission context

Origins of France’s Operation SERVAL

France’s Operation SERVAL began on 11 January 2013, when President Dioncounda Traoré of Mali made an urgent appeal for foreign assistance in his government’s struggle to stop the advance and re-take the territory held by Islamic extremists linked to Al-Qaeda. In response, President François Hollande of France authorized a joint combat operation alongside Malian government forces to protect Bamako, the capital, and re-take Malian territory that was held by the militants.

Legal background

France’s Operation SERVAL was conducted under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2085 (20 December 2012), which authorized the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) and called upon the international community to support this mission and the Malian Security and Defence Forces.

Canada joins the effort

On 14 March 2013, Prime Minister Harper affirmed that the deployment of a CC-177 for strategic airlift between France and Bamako, Mali would continue for as long as Canada identifies a need.

On 14 February 2013, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird announced that the mission was extended to 15 March 2013.

On 24 January 2013, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird made a joint announcement that the Canadian Globemaster III would continue its work in support of French operations in Mali until 15 February 2013.

On 14 January 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that President Hollande had asked Canada for help in Mali, and that Canada would provide one CC-177 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft for one week to assist in the transport of French equipment to Mali for Operation SERVAL.

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