Operation PRESENCE - Mali

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. (Follow the timeline of the mission here)The core mission is to provide MINUSMA with the 24/7 capability to medically evacuate UN forces by air. CAF members will also support MINUSMA headquarters. When possible, the CAF could provide other services:

  • transport troops, equipment, and supplies
  • logistics support

CAF members will join 57 MINUSMA partner countries in their efforts to bring sustainable peace and stability to Mali and the Sahel.

Theatre activation: Preparing for the operation on the ground

On June 24, 2018, the first CAF members arrived in Mali. The CAF is sending approximately 280 members to several locations in West Africa in a number of phases. These highly trained members are mostly logistics and combat service support personnel. They are known as the theatre activation team.

They are completing a variety of tasks to prepare for the arrival of the main body of the task force:

  • preparing the United Nations camp in Gao
  • coordinating the transportation of equipment and vehicles
  • making sure that communications systems are installed
  • coordinating with the United Nations and partners

They are completing important infrastructure and planning projects. Most of the team will return to Canada around the end of July and early August 2018.

Equipment and aircraft are coming into Mali through locations in West Africa. The CH-147F Chinook and CH-146 Griffon helicopters are being transported via CC-177 Globemaster strategic airlift planes.

Air Task Force

The Air Task Force will be located in Gao, in northern Mali. It will include the following components:

The CH-147F Chinook helicopters will conduct medical evacuations. They could also transport troops, equipment, supplies, and food, and help with the rapid deployment of UN forces in Mali.

The CH-146 Griffon helicopters will be 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 will work as staff officers at the MINUSMA headquarters in Bamako, Mali. They will 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. Read the full mission history at the MINUSMA mission site.  

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


  • 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.
  • Late June 2018 – Additional members of the theatre activation team arrived in several locations in West Africa to prepare for the mission. 
  • 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.

The remaining helicopters will arrive in phases.

By August 1, the aircrews will validate their training and will be ready to conducting evacuations by air. By mid-August, the Air Task Force is expected to be fully operational, and ready to support other UN tasks as required. 

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

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: