23 Oct 2003

Fiji military clarifies report of unfit soldiers

12:18 pm on 23 October 2003

Fiji's military says it is not short of personnel for deployment overseas.

Radio Fiji says the military made the clarification in response to its report that many soldiers selected for overseas duty had to be replaced because they were in poor health.

The radio says this was reflected in the recent Solomon Islands deployment when 40 percent of the initial 180 chosen failed a medical board.

But the military spokesman, Warrant Officer Neumi Leweni, says all soldiers selected for overseas duty are deployed only if they are declared fit.

He says the military has reserves for any deployment who also undergo the same tests and accompany the outgoing group to Nadi Airport.

Warrant Officer Leweni has confirmed that the military recently engaged a team to do an audit of military health after a soldier died last month while undergoing fitness tests.