Justin Trudeau greets troops in Mali, defends decision not to extend mission – National


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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his inaugural go to to Mali on Saturday to thank the roughly 250 Canadians stationed at Camp Castor.

Canadian Forces in Mali unharmed by bomb, extremists claim responsibility

Attributable to considerations over safety, although, the go to was a closely-guarded secret upfront of the journey.

Mali has seen surging violence in latest months, prompting officers to take cautious measures to make sure nothing concerning the Prime Minister’s journey was revealed till after he left Mali’s airspace. Safety considerations had been so that prime reporters weren’t even allowed to carry cell telephones into the nation.

WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Mali on Saturday and paid a vacation go to to Canadian troops stationed there on a peacekeeping mission.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali issues to Trudeau as a result of it represents greater than only a Canadian dedication to serving to the troubled Sahel area of Africa. Additionally it is an emblem of Trudeau’s overseas coverage ethos and a key marketing campaign promise: a return to UN peacekeeping.

The truth, nevertheless, has confirmed tougher than the catchy “Canada’s Again!” marketing campaign slogan the Liberals used to push their peacekeeping pledge on the election path. Regardless of pledging as much as 600 peacekeepers and 200 police, Trudeau has delivered lower than half that variety of peacekeepers and no civilian law enforcement officials.

Canada’s on a new kind of mission in Mali — mixing peacekeeping with counterterrorism

Going through determined poverty, political upheaval and the exploitation of jihadists fomenting radical Islamist ideologies, violence and terrorism, West Africa is a area in want of assist. With out assist, the struggling African nations are unlikely to succeed, however that assist comes at a price in blood and treasure.

With the deaths of 177 peacekeepers in Mali — 22 of whom had been killed this 12 months alone — Mali is essentially the most harmful peacekeeping mission in UN historical past.

The Trudeau authorities dedicated an air job pressure comprised of three Chinook helicopters and 5 smaller Griffons to assist the UN mission. The helicopters conduct medical evacuations and supply logistical assist, transferring troops and gear to the entrance traces. It one of many least harmful roles, nevertheless it’s not with out threat. Army officers instructed reporters that, up to now, Canadian troops haven’t been fired upon and haven’t shot at anybody on the bottom thus far.

WATCH: Unique: Contained in the lives of Canadian peacekeepers in Mali

There additionally hasn’t been a lot demand for the Canadians’ companies. Canadian troops have solely carried out 5 medical evacuations since arriving in July and solely a kind of was fight associated.

However the low stage of demand doesn’t mirror a drop in violence. It signifies that the violence is transferring south, away from the place the Canadians are positioned. Canadian navy officers instructed reporters on the journey that violence within the nation general is on the rise.

Canadian Job Drive Commander Col. Chris McKenna argued that the handful of missions doesn’t mirror a scarcity of significance, or want. The information that Canada is there to supply first-class medical evacuation has given different UN troops the arrogance to exit and patrol the harmful, bomb-strewn roads.

UN reports sharp deterioration in Mali since Canadian peacekeepers arrived

The Canadian troops have additionally used their time to coach and innovate. The Canadian Armed Forces have been identified for his or her innovation because the First World Battle, and Mali has so far been no exception.

Giant Chinook helicopters had been despatched to Mali, with the United Nations intending them for use as flying ambulances. The Canadian medical groups, although, took it to the following stage, turning them into flying trauma wards. For the primary time, the Canadians say, trauma surgeons and nurses are on board the helicopters — being delivered to the affected person to cut back the crucial time between harm and remedy. Generally known as the “golden hour” by first responders, the time wanted to get a serious trauma sufferer to remedy has a major affect on the chance of survival. By bringing Canadian docs to the injured affected person on the helicopter when they’re evacuated, possibilities for survival are improved.

WATCH: Defence Minister discusses Canada’s Mali mission

The Canadians are additionally bringing blood merchandise into the sector and instantly transfusing them into sufferers who’ve been severely injured. The change is promising and a major flip from how casualties had been handled in Afghanistan, the place they had been administered saline through IV models.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who was additionally on the journey, remarked that he wished the form of enhancements the Canadians have devised in Mali had been out there in Afghanistan.

Regardless of successes, the federal government has reportedly ignored requests for Canada to remain in Mali and do extra.

WATCH: Is Canada’s mission peacekeeping or counterterrorism?

When the Canadians pull out, there shall be an operational hole till Romania takes over. However on the bottom in Mali, the Prime Minister wouldn’t decide to staying for longer or extra UN missions.

Trudeau was requested instantly if the resistance was associated to considerations about casualties in an election 12 months, however didn’t reply to the query. As an alternative, he cited the successes of Canadian troops on the bottom.

The massive problem for Mali is what’s going to occur in the long run. Whereas the Canadian contribution has been substantial, the UN mission within the nation is struggling. There’s a lack of a long-term, coordinated scenario to assist Mali and the encompassing Sahel take care of the scourge of terrorism and the underlying threat elements.

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