FIJI SENDS MORE CONTRACT SOLDIERS TO IRAQ

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Sept. 8) – Fiji is set to boost its military presence in war-torn Iraq.

The Fiji agent for British company Global Risk Strategies says another 15 former Fijian soldiers will leave next week to join about 140 others on duty there.

And the Fiji Government says it is considering a United Nations request that it send military peacekeepers to Iraq.

Global Risk Strategies’ Fiji agent, Lieutenant Sakiuasa Raivoce, says he has sent a total of 700 former Fijian soldiers to Iraq so far.

Raivoce says there have been only four casualties to date.

"They know how to look after themselves there, with equipment provided for them and other benefits. They are coming to me to go and I have a pool of reserves that will never run dry to send them to Iraq for security duties."

Colonel Raivoce is welcoming moves to send Fijian military peacekeepers to Iraq, which he says will boost the morale of the private Fijian army.

Fiji’s Acting Minister for Home Affairs, Attorney-General Qoriniasi Bale, says he’s been appointed to head a committee that will report to Cabinet on how Fiji should respond to a UN request to send 155 military peacekeepers.

Other sources say a team of military personal protection officers will leave Fiji for Iraq some time next week.

September 9, 2004

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/

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