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

Rupert Runners share memories of beloved volunteer Leslie Peloquin

Distance runner Peloquin was a Learn to Run coach in Prince Rupert for years, inspiring many

‘Ruff week over for canine owners as Prince Rupert dog park reopens

McKay Street dog park was temporarily closed for repairs after a car crashed into fence

Prince Rupert marine business adds second catamaran to its fleet

100-passenger Aurora was launched this year for the Rio Tinto Kemano tunnel project

Sustainble economy flourishing in Haida Gwaii and Great Bear Rainforest thanks to First Nations investments

From 2008-2018, funding initiatives led to more than $286 million in new investments

Kerbrat back in command of Prince Rupert golf scene

Strong putting game helps reclaim the title

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

WEB POLL: Would you like to see another mural go up where Zorba’s Taverna’s old one used to be?

The iconic quirky mural from Prince Rupert’s Greek restaurant was painted over this week

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read