NATION

Soldiers Moved

The 44 detained Fijian soldiers in the Golan Heights have been moved to another location, but all are said to be safe. This was the latest information on the soldiers
31 Aug 2014 07:28
Soldiers Moved
The newly opened Bazaar Kitchen Restaurant in Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau.

The 44 detained Fijian soldiers in the Golan Heights have been moved to another location, but all are said to be safe.

This was the latest information on the soldiers relayed to the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Brigadier- General MoseseTikoitoga, yesterday.

He said a group called the al-Nusra Front claimed they were involved and took the soldiers away for their own safety.

As of yesterday, he said they completed the first round of negotiations and experts from the United Nations in New York were involved.

He said the RFMF lost all contact because all the peacekeepers’ communications equipment had been confiscated.

“Only the group leader is contacting the United Nations about the development,” he said.

Meanwhile, Australia strongly condemned the detention, on August 28, of the 44 Fiji peacekeepers in the Golan Heights by the armed group.

As a member of the UN Security Council, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, said Australia demanded the unconditional and immediate release of all the detained United Nations peacekeepers. Fijian personnel, she said, had played an important role in UN peacekeeping operations over many years.

She telephoned Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Foreign Minister Ratu InokeKubuabola to express Australia’s strong support, including their intelligence resources for Fiji at this difficult time.

She assured them that Australia would use its position on the UN Security Council to maintain focus on this issue.

When the RFMF Commander was asked if there had been any demands made by the rebel armed group, he said there was none and if there was any it would be directed to the UN.

Brigadier-General Tikoitoga again urged people to pray for the safety of the 44 soldiers and likewise all those serving in the Golan Heights under the umbrella of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

The Fijians, who are part of the UN’s disengagement observer force, were seized on Thursday by rebels led by members of the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s primary affiliate in Syria.

The rebels earlier stormed a Golan Heights crossing at Quneitra, sparking an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops.

Quneitra is the only crossing between the Syrian- and the Israeli-controlled side of the strategic plateau.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN operation, said talks were continuing with a “wide range of parties within Syria” and UN member states who may influence the rebels.

An additional 81 Filipino peacekeepers have also been surrounded in the same area.

Earlier reports said 43 Fijians were being held. But it is now confirmed there are 44.




Fijisun E-edition
Tanoa Plaza Hotel Suva
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: