A FIJIAN soldier serving in the British Army has been killed in Afghanistan.
This was confirmed by the British High Commission yesterday.
Private Apete Saunikalou and two colleagues were gunned down while on duty at Checkpoint Kamparack Pul in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Saturday.
He is the second Fijian to die in Afghanistan this year.
On May 4, Pte Ratu Manasa Silibaravi was killed in the same area while deployed in support of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, which lost one of its soldiers with Private Saunikalou and his colleague from the Royal Corps of Signals.
Families and friends of Pte Saunikalou in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, last night said Fijians in the area were mourning the loss and still finalising the traditional reguregu ceremony.
The spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Major Ian Lawrence, said, their loss was deeply felt.
"However, this will be nothing compared to the grief experienced by the soldiers' families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time," he said in a Ministry of Defence statement.
The three had been working as Afghan police advisers and were leaving a shura - or meeting of elders - when they were shot.
Last night, more than 200 messages were posted on Pte Saunikalou's Facebook page by his family members, former schoolmates, friends and colleagues in the British Army.