CAPTION: Contingent leader for RFMF personnel to Syrian Golan Heights, Lt-Col Sitiveni Qiliho briefs Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Land Force Commander Col Mosese Tikoitoga and Brig-Gen Mohammed Aziz at the rehearsal parade.
Members of the public are invited to be part of the official farewell programme for Fijian soldiers leaving for Syrian Golan Heights.
The farewell programme tomorrow (June 25, 2013) includes a military parade by departing soldiers which will conclude with a march through the capital city.
The 171 soldiers will be farewelled by His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama
Ministry of Defence acting permanent secretary, Osea Cawaru said the parade will be inspected by HE Ratu Epeli and attended by other cabinet ministers and dignitaries.
“Members of the cabinet, members of the diplomatic corps, ex-servicemen and members of the public are invited to attend as this marks another milestone of service by Fijian soldiers to the United Nations peace keeping effort,” Mr Cawaru said.
“Families and friends are welcomed to be part of the farewell programme as this is an important occasion for the nation that marks our commitment and sacrifice to international peacekeeping to bring about safety and security throughout the globe,” he added.
RFMF Land Force commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga said the soldiers bound for Golan Heights will be led by Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho and the troop’s padre will be Reverend Osea Bera who is the Methodist divisional superintendent for the Nabua circuit.
Colonel Tikoitoga said 12 health officials will also be part of the expedition which includes two doctors and nine nurses.
“These health officers will not only serve the Fijian troops but the whole of the UN troops in the Golan Heights,” Colonel Tikoitoga said.
“The service in the Golan Heights will be for 12 months before another troop is sent. It is expected that this peace keeping service will take a few years,” he added.
Fiji ex-servicemen secretary Osea Loa said they have been invited to be part of the parade.
“We are always happy to farewell our soldiers in such a parade. It always brings back memories to all ex-servicemen who have gone through such parades before departing for war in the Solomon Islands and the Malayan campaign and even Lebanon and Sinai,” Mr Loa said.
The soldiers will depart Fiji on Wednesday June 26, 2013.
Fijian soldiers’ deployment to be part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights was made possible after approval was given by Cabinet.