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Canada military plane returns after Haiti surveillance


OTTAWA, Ontario — A Canadian Forces surveillance plane was on its way home Tuesday from two intelligence-gathering flights over Haiti.

The return of the CP-140 Aurora came after Prime Minister Justin’s government announced on Saturday that the aircraft was being deployed to collect intelligence on gang activity in Haiti.

Defense Minister Anita Anand and Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly also described the deployment at the time as a demonstration of Canada’s commitment to Haiti, which has been beset by a series of crises.

Violent, feuding gangs have taken over the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince since last summer. A United Nations report in October said gangs sexually assault women and children, in addition to restricting access to health care, electricity and clean water.

The gangs reportedly murdered and kidnapped hundreds of people while filling a power vacuum in a country led by politicians whose terms of office have expired. No elections have been held since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A military spokesman, Capt. Graeme Scott said Tuesday the long-range surveillance aircraft was originally assigned to a US-led counter-narcotics mission in the Caribbean before being tasked with conducting two sorties over Haiti over two days.

“CP-140 has collected information that will be used by the Government of Canada to further assess the situation in Haiti,” Scott said in an emailed statement.

“As the aircraft has now completed gathering information as part of Canada’s response to the situation in Haiti, it is now on its way back to Canada.”

It was not immediately clear how the information will be used, although Haiti’s unelected prime minister, Ariel Henry, has called for a foreign military intervention, which Washington says should lead Canada.

The idea has led to divisions among Haitians. Canada has instead sought a political consensus in Haiti, including punishing more than a dozen political and economic elites, accusing them of encouraging the gangs.

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