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Fijian guard dies in Iraq

Monday, June 25, 2007

A FAMILY is mourning the death of their father after he was killed on Saturday in a road side bomb explosion in Baghdad.

Arthur Small, who is in his 40s, is the latest Fiji national to die in Iraq.

He was killed while driving a convoy of American soldiers in Iraq, his wife Rosalini said from San Francisco yesterday.

Her five children live in Bau where a condolence gathering is being held in anticipation of the arrival of his body on Wednesday, said Mr Small's eldest son, Semi.

He said they were still coming to terms with the death of their father and were awaiting answers from the company that recruited him.

He said his father had been gone three years while his mother had lived in America for the past five years.

I don't believe it. I want to hear it from them (the recruiting company). They should be here tonight. My father has done so much for us, Semi said as he broke down and refused to comment further.

An emotional Ms Small said her husband had joined the company he was driving for a week ago after unresolved differences with the previous company he worked for. She said her husband worked for a company based outside England before he switched to join an American security firm.

Our last conversation was last Wednesday when he called to ask if he could join me here on his leave next year. He had called the children and I believe that was his last conversation with them too. He asked them about birthdays and stuff, she said.

She said she was informed of his death by her son on Saturday afternoon.

She then called her husband's mobile phone and an American officer answered. He confirmed that her husband died from the roadside bomb explosion.

She said she was torn between wanting to be with her children and had yet to discuss it with her mother who she lived with in America as papers that concerned her citizenship were also at stake.

My children are alone in Fiji and I'm missing them so much. I wish I was there to be with them, Ms Small said.

Fiji soldier and former Iraq correspondent of the Fiji Times, Tevita Vonolagi said he was related to the family and believed another two Fijians died at the same incident.

This newspaper was unable to ascertain Mr Vonologi's concerns when this edition went to press.

No contact could be established with Mr Small's employer.

To date, 14 Fijians are believed to have died while serving as security guards in Iraq.





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