17 Dec 2002

Fiji Peacekeepers Association boycotts celebrations

11:21 am on 17 December 2002

The Fiji Peacekeepers Association has decided to boycott celebrations this week to mark the end of 24 years of peacekeeping in Southern Lebanon.

More than a thousand past and present members of the First Fiji Infantry Battalion will march through Suva as part of the celebration which will end with a parade in Albert Park.

Radio Fiji quotes the Suva branch president of the Association as saying they cannot take part in the celebrations when they are fighting against the government.

Ilaitia Yalimaibau says his members have been asked to stay at home.

They have taken court action to claim more than 100 million US dollars in what they describe as unpaid allowances.

The government is spending 100 thousand US dollar on the celebrations which will be marked by formal traditional ceremonies.

Fiji troops have served continuously in southern Lebanon since 1978.