July 29, 2013

Golan force

Nanise Loanakadavu
Saturday, July 27, 2013

THE 160-strong contingent of Fiji soldiers, who left the country early yesterday morning, were told to follow the Prime Minister's advice and directives so that they can enjoy their tour of duty in the Golan Heights and return home safely.
Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama farewelled the troops at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Thursday night.
Speaking in the iTaukei language he said another batch bound for the Golan Heights today would arrive there on Monday.
He said the first batch of soldiers, who left last month, had been doing the work of 500 and were waiting for their arrival.
Commodore Bainimarama said the mission would not be different from any of their missions to Iraq, the Sinai and Lebanon on what they would be expected to do.
He said Fiji was best known for peacekeeping around world.
Families and friends braved the cold night to farewell their fathers, sons, uncles, grandfathers, mothers and sisters.
Another 153 soldiers are expected to leave the country today. Soldiers at the parade were told that their comrades at the Israeli-Syria border were well and safe.
Major Ned Taito, who led the second batch yesterday morning, said the first batch were doing well.
"They are currently in the area which was occupied by the Austrian Battalion that has withdrawn and they are awaiting the arrival of the second batch," Maj Taito said.
He said while they could not prepare a person 100 per cent for the mission, they were grateful that there was a spiritual base in all deployments.
Maj Taito said singing and praying were part of their mission every day.
"This is something we can take on the mission.
"This is not only done by troops with the United Nations but also with Fijians serving in the British Army and in other parts of the world."
Maj Taito said the UN Disengagement Observer Force would set up a media team that would provide updates through a quarterly newspaper.

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