A Canadian Chinook helicopter takes off as it provides logistical support during a demonstration on the United Nations base in Gao, Mali, Saturday, December 22, 2018. Canadian peacekeepers in Mali have launched their second medical evacuation mission in less than a week after a UN armoured vehicle triggered an explosive device Friday, killing two and wounding six others. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canadians rescue five injured peacekeepers in Mali

This is the second medical-evacuation mission in less than a week

Canadian peacekeepers in Mali launched their second medical-evacuation mission in less than a week after a UN armoured vehicle triggered an explosive device Friday, killing two and wounding six others.

The attack occurred near the town of Douentza in central Mali, about 400 kilometres southwest of Gao, where the Canadian contingent of 250 peacekeepers and eight military helicopters is based.

The Department of National Defence says the Canadians rescued five injured peacekeepers from the scene and provided emergency medical treatment while in the air.

The UN identified the dead and injured peacekeepers as having come from Sri Lanka.

READ MORE: Trudeau defends pace of peacekeeping deployments as next election looms

Canadian peacekeepers have conducted seven medevacs since operations began in August, including one last Sunday following a deadly assault on a UN camp in northern Mali.

That attack killed 10 peacekeepers from Chad and injured at least dozens more. The Canadians ended up carrying away 15 peacekeepers on their busiest day since arriving in the country.

Friday’s attack was condemned by the UN Security Council, which called on the Malian government and other actors in the strife-riven country to identify those responsible and hold them to account.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the blue helmets who tragically lost their lives this morning in Mali,” Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said in a statement.

“Following a request for assistance, Canadian peacekeepers immediately launched aeromedical assets to provide advanced care to those injured in the attack.”

Mali remains the home of the most dangerous peacekeeping mission in the world, with Friday’s deaths bringing the total number of fatalities since 2013 to 189. Many of those have been from developing countries in Africa and Asia.

READ MORE: No letup for Trudeau as difficult 2018 gives way to wild election year

The 15,000-strong UN mission followed a rebellion in the north and a coup in the capital in 2012 that threw the country into turmoil.

While a tenuous peace was re-established, recent years have seen a resurgence in violence among different groups thanks to poverty, drought and an influx of Islamic jihadists.

Two different groups, both linked to al-Qaida, have reportedly claimed responsibility for this week’s attacks.

Canada’s year-long mission is scheduled to end in July, at which point the Canadians will pack up and start heading home. The UN would like Canada to stay until Romanian troops arrive in the fall but the government has rejected an extension.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Battle of the Bands winner set to perform at Char’s Landing

Sean Lyons is a singer-songwriter originally from Port Alberni

Port Alberni sends large contingent of athletes to Special Olympics Winter Games

Veteran curler Simone Myers dreams of gold in her seventh provincials

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

West coast group campaigns for seal, sea lion harvest

‘Salmon are going the way of the buffalo unless we do something’

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read