22 Oct 2002

Fiji soldiers allegeldy involved in smuggling in Lebanon

6:16 am on 22 October 2002

Fiji soldiers serving on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon are reported to have been involved in illegal smuggling operations involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Radio Fiji says an army investigation team will leave for Lebanon tomorrow to investigate the report.

The radio says the smuggling involved the secret transport of liquor from the former Israeli-controlled area of Naqora to be sold in refugee camps in Southern Lebanon.

The operation was reported to have been discontinued when the United Nations launched an investigation and some Fiji soldiers wrer court martialled.

But Radio Fiji says the smuggling has resumed to enable Fiji soldiers to pay off debts to Lebanese businessmen before the batallion returns home in December at the end of 24 years in Lebanon.

Senior Fiji officers, including the batallion commander, Lt Col Apakuki Kurisiga, are under investigation for the activity.