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

Alberta’s 47 legislature newbies meet under the dome for orientation day

Most new members are with the United Conservatives, who won a majority government

OPINION: Jason Kenney won by portraying himself as the Guardian of Alberta

How did Kenney do it? He never considered himself an opposition leader and didn’t pretend to be one.

VIDEO: Police dog in Oregon struck by 200 porcupine quills during pursuit

The German shepherd had to be sedated and was in treatment for more than two hours

Provinces, Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Digestive issues? You may have SIBO

Gut health info session

Oil and gas company confirms death of one of its employees in Yoho avalanche

Dana Coffield died when he was skiing in the Rocky Mountains

Cenovus CEO estimates production curtailments will deliver billions to taxpayers

The curtailment program started Jan. 1 was designed to keep 325,000 barrels per day off the market

Kathy McTaggart appointed new principal for Ponoka Secondary Campus

Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC) will have a new prinicipal for the 2019-2020… Continue reading

Robbery in Leduc County estimated at $40,000

Leduc RCMP investigate break and enter and theft of firearms

Most Read