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Potential recruits wait in line at the Duke of Edinburgh Barracks in Lautoka yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA
By MAIKA BOLATIKI
The overwhelming turnout for the Republic of Fiji Military Forces’ (RFMF) recruitment drive in the three centres around the country has made the military cancel a planned second one.
Land Force Commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, told the Fiji Sun yesterday that more than 5000 youths had reported for recruitment in the three centres – Suva, Labasa and Lautoka, and by today they expected to have 8000 – 10,000.
He said Cabinet had approved two recruitment drives, one for this year and the other next year for the recruitment of 900 to join the Territorial Force (TF).
However, the Land Force Commander said with the overwhelming response they would select 450 for this year and another 450 for next year in this recruitment.
“We don’t need to have another recruitment drive as we will select the 450 required for this year and the other 450 for next year from this recruitment,” Colonel Tikoitoga said.
For the first 450, he said 225 will march in for their 12 week training in August and the second lot will march in, in November.
“After this training they be will enlisted to TF and wait for their deployment.”
He said they would need to attend weekend camps while waiting.
Colonel Tikoitoga applauded the good response to the recruitment drive and said it had sent a positive message to the United Nations of Fiji’s willingness to participate in peacekeeping duties.
He said with the current level of Territorial Force Numbers, Fiji would not have been able to fulfill the UN peacekeeping demands, which is why the latest recruitment was necessary.
Currently the Territorial Force Numbers are amongest those are engaged in peacekeeping duties in the Golan Heights and Sinai.
Death in Sinai
Colonel Tikoitoga has also confirmed the death of a Fijian soldier in Sinai.
“It is very unfortunate that we now have a death in Sinai and the postmortem had already been conducted.”
He said the RFMF has yet to relay the message to the close relatives but that will be done soon.
He said the dead soldier would be accorded a full military funeral.