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Home from Iraq year

By JYOTI PRATIBHA Nineteen soldiers from Republic of Fiji Military Force’s  contingent with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) returned to Fiji yesterday. They were welcomed by Chief
22 Oct 2012 10:50

By JYOTI PRATIBHA

Nineteen soldiers from Republic of Fiji Military Force’s  contingent with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) returned to Fiji yesterday.
They were welcomed by Chief of staff Land Force Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho at the military camp in Nadi Airport.
Fiji provides the bulk of protection personnel for UNAMI Iraq through its contingent from the First Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment. Fiji has provided this protective service to the UN’s operation in Iraq since 2004.
The next returning group of 20 soldiers is expected to arrive in Fiji next week.
The soldiers had initially been deployed to Iraq for six months.
However, with unforeseen visa delays, many of them volunteered to stay back as part of the mission for more than a year.
Lieutenant-Colonel Qiliho had told the troops to use their savings wisely.
“These troops have come back with their savings and it is important that we advise them to properly utilise that,” he said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Qiliho had also encouraged the soldiers to pay their children’s school fees in advance and to invest in their education.
“These soldiers have come back more mature now, and they have started to come back and invest.
“The money they have earned has not come about easily, they have sacrificed a lot and have stayed away from their families for months therefore it is important that it is spent wisely and not on things that they don’t need,’ he said.
Amongst the soldiers was Private Isaac Khan. Private Khan had been in Iraq for 13 months.
“The time spent in Iraq was good and part of our duty as Fijian soldiers. The fact that we spend time away from our families is something that we take in our stride, we see it as part of duty,” he said.
He and many other soldiers chose not to inform their families, wanting to surprise them.




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