The Ghana Air Force has deployed one of its two C295 transport aircraft to Mali to support the United Nations-led MINUSMA mission there, as it continues to operate its transport aircraft on behalf of the United Nations.
The Ghana Air Force (GAF) sent a C295 to Mali in late September last year, with the aircraft stationed at the capital’s Bamako-Senou airfield. It has been used to fly people and cargo within the country in support of the Mission Multidimensionnelle Intégrée des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation au Mali (MINUSMA).
According to Air Forces Daily, it is believed that the Ghana Air Force will indefinitely supply aircraft to MINUSMA.
In the middle of 2013 Ghana announced it was going to lease two C295s to the United Nations for operations in Mali, after beating international competitors to win an air services. The Public Relations Directorate of the Ghana Air Force said the Air Force was operating a similar service on behalf of the United Nations in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI).
Ghana received its first C295 in November 2011 and the second in April 2012 as part of the Air Force’s modernisation drive.
In November last year Ghana’s president John Dramani Mahama announced that Ghana would acquire an additional C295, in addition to other aircraft, including Super Tucanos, Mi-17s and Z-9s. An Airbus spokesperson confirmed to defenceWeb that Ghana is currently negotiating for the purchase of a third C295.
MINUSMA took over from the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) on July 1. Its goal is to support the political process, carry out stabilisation tasks, protect civilians, monitor human rights and allow for the provision of humanitarian assistance and the return of displaced persons, and prepare for peaceful elections. The Jane’s Information Group reports the UN as identifying a lack of transport aircraft as a critical problem for MINUSMA.