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

Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Claire Rattée is a former Kitimat councillor

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

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

LNG Canada sponsors driver’s license training in Terrace, Kitimat

The $80,000 contribution is part of the company’s commitment to hire locally

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

Most Read