Canada will send helicopters and support troops, including medical staff, to join a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali later this year, a senior Canadian government source said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will announce this week that Canada plans to send troops and aircraft to Mali for up to 12 months, said the official, who declined to provide further details.
The plan was earlier reported by Canadian broadcaster CBC.
Trudeau promised in 2016 to send up to 600 troops to UN peacekeeping operations in Mali, where soldiers under the UN are fighting Islamist militants. More than 80 people deployed through the UN have been killed in Mali since 2013, making it the world’s deadliest peacekeeping operation.
The Canadian government in November said it would hold off announcing deployment of troops to Mali as it reviewed strategy for participating in UN peacekeeping missions.
It said it would offer transport aircraft and helicopters in a series of “smart pledge” initiatives, splitting soldiers among various missions with no more than 200 going to any one location and helping to train peacekeepers.
Government insiders told Reuters in November enthusiasm for the Mali mission faded as the extent of likely casualties and the complex nature of the conflict became clear.