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Canada PM Justin Trudeau on surprise visit to forces in Mali

December 23, 2018 GMT

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise holiday visit to Mali this weekend to see troops on a U.N. peacekeeping mission.

According to the prime minister’s press office, while in Mali Saturday Trudeau met with members of the 250-person brigade and awarded a medal to the commander of the Canadian Air Force stationed here.

He thanked the service members for their sacrifice in serving Canada far from their families during the holiday season.

Trudeau also met with Mali’s Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga to discuss relations between the two countries.

Canadian troops have been stationed in Mali on a peacekeeping mission since 2013 although most were deployed in 2018. No Canadian troops have been killed although more than 100 other peacekeepers have died in attacks by extremists and separatists.