29 Aug 2003

Five hundred Fiji soldiers sign up for security duties in Iraq

10:21 am on 29 August 2003

Plans have been revealed in Fiji to send 5 hundred soldiers to Iraq to serve as security guards employed by a British company.

The Fiji Times reports that the arrangements are being made by a retired army officer, Lt Col Sakiusa Raivoce, who says there has been an overwhelming response from former and current soldiers.

He says the British company, which he has not named, will pay the men slightly above the United Nations rate of 15 hundred US dollars a month and be responsible for life and medical insurance.

Lt Col Raivoce says an advance party is expected to leave for Iraq on September 10th with the rest of the 5 hundred men later that month.

The army spokesman, Warrant officer Neumi Leweni, has warned that the military will not be responsible for any private arrangements made by soldiers to be employed in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the government's own plans to send 7 hundred troops to the Polish-controlled sector of Iraq remain stalled because of funding problems.