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Bainimarama quiet on capture of Fiji soldiers as nation asked to pray

September 4, 2014

 

Unconfirmed: This photo is reportedly that of the captured 44 soldiers and has been posted on Facebook with the information it was tweeted by Al Qaeda. We are checking further about the claim.

Prayers are going out to the 43 Fiji soldiers captured by rebels in Syria but the hostage situation was always a possibility.

182 soldiers left with fanfare in July last year with the military commander at the time, Frank Bainimarama, rashly promising to despatch as many as 500 men to help the UN. 

He noted the soldiers could be going to their death but couched it in language that gloried war: “Etched on their faces was the pride, the determination and commitment that we are certain will carry them for the mission ahead.”

Concerns for the safety of the men were raised via this blog but the peacekeeping post was too much of a show of strength for Bainimarama to ignore.

Fiji soldiers farewell families last year

Forty three lives are now at risk although RFMF commander, Mosese Tikoitoga, says he’s been informed the soldiers are unharmed. Tikoitoga admits, though, he hasn’t been able to contact the men directly and has called on the  nation to pray for the soldiers.

C4.5 wishes for the safe return of the men but as the country holds its breath praying for their safety, it must be noted with all due respect to the fat belly army of Fiji – they were not captured.

Filipino soldiers stood their ground

Consistent in the reports coming out of Golan Heights is this: the Fiji soldiers surrendered their weapons at first sight and were then taken hostage, unlike the 38 Filipino soldiers who stood their ground and fought the rebels.

The top brass in Fiji are to blame for sending to a combat zone the soldiers in lieu of money without proper training and weapons, including protective gear.

The Fiji public must be aware that Golan Heights is not a UN peacekeeping mission but an active combat zone – this means if you are fired upon you are to engage and kill.

So much then for the army who find it easy to oppress its own unarmed citizens: they surrendered at the first sight of 150 Muslims believed to be the Al Nusra group. 

The military in the Phillipines meanwhile says it is in direct contact with its soldiers.

A spokesperson says an English-speaking Fijian soldier had been sent by rebels to tell the Filipinos to give up their weapons but the Filipinos stood their ground.

“Our soldiers are prepared, trained and capable of dealing with this situation and will take risks to fulfil our commitment to international security and peace.

“The peace contingent has the right to defend its position and the units in line with United Nationals protocols and rules of engagement.”

No word as of yet from Bainimarama, who coincidentally didn’t fly out with the Golan Heights soldiers last year in a show of moral support. He was instead welcoming a delegation from Russia.

 

source – c4.5; posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

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