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45 detained

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

THE 45 Fijian soldiers detained by Islamist militants have access to basic human needs — food, water and medical supplies — and are all reported to be in good health.

The reassurance from the RFMF Commander Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga followed continuous negotiations between authorities, the UN and the rebel group Al- Nusra which has links to Al-Qaida.

He confirmed the number of soldiers detained was 45 after a recount.

Brig-Gen Tikoitoga emphasised in a statement yesterday that the situation surrounding the Fijian peacekeepers remained unchanged.

He said they were co-ordinating closely with the UN for their safe release.

As of Sunday, he said the military had started selection of soldiers to replace those detained.

According to Al Jazeera, the Al-Nusra group conditioned the release of the remaining 45 soldiers from Fiji on the transferring of humanitarian aid to the Ru (clan) in the Ruta area of the embattled Syrian capital Damascus.

Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said the RFMF remained committed to the UNDOF mission and had begun selection for replacements of those detained should they undergo traumatic experiences and need to return home.

The Al-Nusra Front told Aljazeera it reached a deal to secure the release of a group of UN peacekeepers held captive in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Brig-Gen Tikoitoga is expected to give another update today following several meetings yesterday.

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