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Down from 600

Shalveen Chand
Friday, August 01, 2014

THE number of soldiers serving in the Golan Heights will come down from 600 to 443 as per the requirements of the United Nations.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces Land Force Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jone Kalouniwai said the call to cut down the number of soldiers in the Middle East nation was the UN's and not Fiji's.

Lt-Col Kalouniwai said there would be a batch of 170 soldiers coming back next month and soon after 190 will be deployed but numbers would be cut down.

He said 434 soldiers would remain for peacekeeping duties while the remainder would be based at the UN offices in the Golan Heights. Golan Heights is situated between Israel and Syria and although fighting isn't intense, there has been news of terrorist activity.

There has been news of firing from both Israel and Syria borders as well.

Meanwhile, four soldiers who returned last week from the Golan Heights have been kept in custody at the Suva Corrections Centre.

Lt-Col Kalouniwai said those soldiers had been confined to barracks as punishment for indiscipline in the Golan Heights.

He said after the batch returned, the soldiers who had not finished their punishment were doing so at the Suva Corrections Centre.