ARCHIVED - Support to French operations in West Africa

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From September to December 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) supported the Government of France’s Operation BARKHANE, the French counter-terrorism operation in the Sahel region of Africa.

The CAF conducted three airlift missions using a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III strategic airlift aircraft. The CAF transported French military personnel and equipment from France to two locations within the Sahel region of Africa: N’Djamena, Chad and Niamey, Niger.

The first flight occurred on September 28, 2015, the second on November 24, 2015, and the third on December 12, 2015 – for a total of 79700 kg. For all three flights, the aircraft flew from Évreux-Fauville Air Base (France) to Diori Hamani International Airport (Niamey, Niger).

CAF aircraft operated in non-combat environments within Chad and Niger while providing strategic airlift support to the French Operation BARKHANE.

Mission context

Origins of France’s Operation BARKHANE

The French Armed Forces’ Operation BARKHANE began in August 2014 and took over from Operation SERVAL, a joint combat operation alongside Malian government forces to protect Bamako, the capital, and re-take Malian territory that was held by the militants.

Operation BARKHANE is a reorganization of French military forces that are already present in the West African region. Throughout the operation, the French are deploying 3,000 personnel over five countries in the Sahel region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Previous contributions to French operations in Africa

The Canadian Armed Forces supported the preceding Government of France operation, Operation SERVAL, from 15 January to 31 March 2013.

On 14 January 2013, the Government of Canada announced that France had asked Canada for help in Mali, and that Canada would provide one CC-177 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft for one week to assist in the transport of French equipment to Mali for Operation SERVAL. During that period, the CAF conducted 48 flights to transport around 1,618,600 kilograms (3,560, 920 pounds) of cargo.

Canada’s support to Operation BARKHANE built on our past and current defence-related cooperation with France, which ranges from NATO operations in Afghanistan and Libya, to combatting instability and terrorism in Iraq, to reassuring our NATO Allies in Central and Eastern Europe.

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