30 Aug 2014

Fiji military commander says captured soldiers are safe

9:33 am on 30 August 2014

The commander of the Fiji military says the families of the Fiji soldiers captured by Syrian rebels are being notified by the military, and some officers will be calling on the families.

The 44 Fiji peacekeepers were captured in Syria's Golan Heights on Thursday. Initial reports had put the figure at 43.

In a news conference, Commander Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga says negotiations with the armed elements are continuing with the United Nations and Force Commanders working on their release.

He told FBC news he has reassured the families of the detained men that they are all well and unharmed.

FBC news says when the troops were captured, all forms of communication were confiscated from the soldiers.

Commander Brigadier General Tikoitoga says the only information they have about the detained men are through their local contacts and informants in the area.

He reiterates that this incident has not weakened Fiji's Military Forces as they are ready to stand by and not let such an incident repeat itself in other key positions its troops hold at the Golan Heights.

He says this is the first time in the 20 years of their peacekeeping service in the middle east where their troops have been challenged by the violence.

European members of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.

European members of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. Photo: AFP