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Romania To Replace Canada In Mali Peacekeeping Mission

UN peacekeepers patrol in the African country of Mali in August.
UN peacekeepers patrol in the African country of Mali in August.

Romania will take over for Canada in the massive and dangerous peacekeeping mission in the African country of Mali this summer when Ottawa's deployment ends, the two countries announced.

"Romania will supply transport helicopters to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), after the end of the Canadian deployment in Gao in 2019," Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on January 31.

"Canada welcomes the commitment of Romania, a credible and capable troop-contributing ally, to replace our Canadian air task force," she added.

Canada, which is due to leave on July 31, has six helicopters and 250 support troops based near the northern Mali city of Gao.

The United Nations said that 177 people deployed in Mali have been killed since 2013, making it the world's deadliest peacekeeping mission.

An Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 10 UN peacekeepers from Chad in the north of the country on January 20.

The UN mission began after northern Mali fell to Islamic insurgents linked to Al-Qaeda. Some 14,000 peacekeepers are part of the mission.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters