3 Jun 2005

Fiji welcomes troops back from East Timor deployment

3:31 pm on 3 June 2005

Fiji has staged a welcome parade for its troops who have served on United Nations peacekeeping duties in East Timor.

Fiji troops were deployed in East Timor for five and a half years from December 1999 until their mission ended two weeks ago.

During this time, over 1,500 hundred Fiji troops served in East Timor, three of whom lost their lives.

The mayor of Suva took the salute as the troops marched through Suva this morning.

The prime minister, the home affairs minister and the military commander Commodore Bainimarama welcomed the troops at Albert Park and commended their service as warriors of peace.

They laid wreaths and observed one minute's silence in memory of the three who died in East Timor.

Many Fiji troops won high commendation for their service including one who single-handedly captured five Indonesian militiamen who crossed the border into East Timor and were later charged for serious human rights abuses.