3 Sep 2014

Fiji military needs to reassess Golan role, says Rabuka

4:29 pm on 3 September 2014

A former Prime Minister and military commander of Fiji says it would be ill-advised to withdraw troops from the Golan Heights, but the military needs to reassess its role after last week's capture of 45 soldiers by Syrian rebels.

Sitiveni Rabuka, who led the country's first coup in 1987 and has a nephew among the detainees, says the fate of the soldiers is out of Fiji's hands and it's up to United Nations negotiators to secure their release.

However, he says Fiji needs to review things such as the role of the remaining peacekeepers, as the situation in Golan is completely different to when Fiji agreed to send peacekeepers.

"While the international efforts are going on there needs to be a reassessment of the roles of our soldiers, the operating procedures and their rules of engagement etc., and also the training levels that need to be carried out."

Sitiveni Rabuka says the capture of 45 troops has had a big effect in a country of fewer than a million people.