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Cute baby born in war

Maciu Malo
Monday, April 01, 2013

IT was an unforgettable and overwhelming Easter celebration for proud grandmother Apikali Suka.

By her side was the joy of her life, six-month-old grandson Emmanuel Pearce, who was given a military escort to Fiji by five Fijian soldiers in the British Army last month.

Mrs Suka's daughter Lynette Pearce, 28, a British Army soldier, gave birth to baby Emmanuel on the frontline in war-torn Afghanistan last year.

In an interview with The Fiji Times yesterday, Mrs Suka said having baby Emmanuel by her side while her daughter prepared for army duties was the best thing to ever happen for her and the family this Easter.

"This is one of the best Easter I have celebrated, especially with my angel here," she said.

Mrs Suka said after the birth of her grandson in Afghanistan, she was asked by her daughter to fly to England.

"My daughter paid for everything and I was looking forward to the trip not only for baby Emmanuel but a reunion with my daughter," she said.

"I was very emotional when I first arrived, seeing my daughter with my grandson."

"It was a special reunion especially to be joined by a new addition to the family.

"And since my daughter was looking for a nanny to look after our 'angel', I then asked her to bring baby home."

Mrs Suka said she never imagined that she boarded the plane with five British Army soldiers including a Special Air Service (SAS) officer.

"I was shocked when five Fijian soldiers approached me at the airport saying 'don't worry we will take care of baby Emmanuel during this 26-hour flight to Fiji'," she said.

"I have never seen these men before but I was later told by one of the soldiers that they are on leave and are going to Fiji.

"One of them told me that they will be escorting us home as an unofficial duty, mainly because of the baby's safety," said Mrs Suka.

In an interview with the Daily Mail news, Mrs Suka said the Fijian comrades laid on a military escort to accompany her on the 26-hour Korean Air flight home with baby Emmanuel.

"I was about to check in when this soldier asked, 'Is this baby Pearce?" she told the Daily Mail.

"I said, 'Yes' and then five of them introduced themselves and said, 'we're here to look after the baby on the flight' and took Emmanuel off me.

"One of them was an SAS officer and the other four were regular soldiers. They whisked us through the check-in and came to Fiji with us.

"Every time Emmanuel cried, they would say, 'we'll take care of him.' I appreciated it as it was a very long flight," Mrs Suka told the news agency.

Lynette, who emigrated from Fiji to join the Army in 2009, has been living with Emmanuel in a single mother's quarters at an army base at Thorney Island, Chichester, West Sussex, and is determined to continue her career.

"Lynette misses him so much. She phones every day and I tell her, 'It's too expensive for you to call morning and afternoon," Mrs Suka told the Daily Mail.

"She adores him. You should see them together. He is a very easy baby. I suppose because he was born in a war-torn country, he just sleeps through noise.

Baby Emmanuel, holder of a unique British citizen passport giving Camp Bastion as his place of birth will stay with his grandparents for three months before returning to Britain.

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