9 Sep 2014

Fiji ups efforts to free men held by Syrian rebels

1:35 pm on 9 September 2014

The Fiji military commander, Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga, has sent a special envoy to New York to help with efforts to win the release of the Fiji peacekeepers seized by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights.

Major General Iowane Naivalurua has been sent to the UN reportedly to put pressure on the UN system in a bid to free the 45 men held since late August.

The group, Al Nusra, has given no deadline for the UN to meet its three demands for their release which are: removal from the UN terrorist list, humanitarian aid and compensation for three rebels who died in a shootout with UN officers.

The whereabouts of the Fiji peacekeepers is not known.

Fiji has ruled out withdrawing from the UN mission on the Golan Heights and last week, Brigadier General Tikoitoga said once the men are freed, Fiji will replace them.