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Fiji Time: 4:35 PM on Monday 21 April

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Men only

Nanise Loanakadavu
Saturday, February 01, 2014

WOMEN will only be recruited in the Republic of Fiji Military Forces when the need arises.

That's the word from Prime Minister and army commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

"It's on a need basis," Commodore Bainimarama said in an interview yesterday.

"Gauna qo sa rauta vinaka tu na allocation ni mataivalu (At the moment I am happy with the current allocation of the RFMF)."

"Na gauna sa na vinakati kina me so tale na yalewa, ira na qai recruit taki (When there is a need to have more women in the force, we will recruit them)."

Asked if this meant that only men were being recruited into the force, Commodore Bainimarama responded, "donu (correct)".

At the moment, there are 92 women in the force of which nine are officers and the rest are in the warrant officers, senior non-commission and junior offices non-commission ranks.

Last year Cabinet approved two recruitment drives to enlist 900 reserves. These were held in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa.

However, no women were enlisted.

In his 2014 Budget announcement, Commodore Bainimarama said the government allocated $94.2million to the RFMF and an additional $39.9m to fulfil peacekeeping responsibilities.

He said a large portion of the $39.9m was allocated for peacekeeping responsibilities and would be reimbursed by the UN.

He also said Fiji's commitment to UN peacekeeping remained unwavering.

"It is a source of great pride that for a nation of our size, we are able to make a meaningful and significant contribution to the international community.

"For the last three decades, we have always responded to the call of the UN to serve in some of the most difficult circumstances around the world, including Lebanon, Iraq, the Sinai Peninsula, and now, the Golan Heights, a disputed territory between Israel and Syria."