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Family grieves for uncle killed in Iraq

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A FAMILY is mourning the death of an uncle who was killed in a roadside bomb in Iraq where he was serving as a security guard.

According to his family living at Veisari, outside Suva, Namuka-i-Lau villager Jone Marika Vakacegu, 40, was serving his last few months of duty before he was to return to the country in December.

His death has taken the number of Fijian nationals who have died in Iraq to 16. They had taken up jobs as security officers with United States of America and British security companies operating there.

Elder brother Saimoni Vue said they had spoken to Jone last month and he had told them about the number of deaths in Iraq every day.

"Jone is single but has a child from a de-facto relationship and this is his fourth trip to Iraq," said Mr Vue. "He has been to Iraq since 2001 and was recruited by Global Risks before changing company."

Mr Vue said his brother, who had left for Iraq in January, was supposed to have come home for Christmas and was planning to leave for the United States because he had received his Green Card.

"We all knew he would be going to the US after returning to the country and we are still in shock over the death," he said.

He said they were informed of the death early on Sunday morning by officers from the US security company he was working for.

Mr Vue said he had been liaising with the officers of the company in the US since there was no agent in Fiji. He said funeral arrangements and a condolence gathering for his brother would start once the date of when his body would arrive in the country was confirmed.

Mr Vakacegu is survived by his child, seven brothers and one sister. Two other Fijian guards were also injured in the incident.

In June this year, another security guard Aca Small died when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq.

DNA testing had to be done before his body was flown back home in July.