Our troops ready to help Le­banon, says PM


Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama yes­ter­day as­sured Le­banon, in a tweet, that our Fi­jian UN peace­keep­ers were in the re­gion ‘ready to help in any way we can’. Mr Bain­i­marama’s com­ments come af­ter a big ex­plo­sion, which in­ter­na­tional me­dia re­ports likened to a nu­clear ex­plo­sion, shook its cap­i­tal – Beirut – killing dozens, in­jur­ing thou­sands and flat­ten­ing build­ings yes­ter­day morn­ing (Fiji time).

The in­ci­dent hap­pened around 6:10pm on Tues­day (Le­banon Time). Mr Bain­i­marama tweeted: “Fi­jians are sad­dened and stunned by the dev­as­tat­ing ex­plo­sion at Beirut Port in Le­banon.

“Our prayers are with the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims, the thou­sands who have been in­jured, and the staff of @UNIFIL. Our peace­keep­ers in the re­gion are ready to help in any way we can.”

Fiji does not have any de­ploy­ment in United Na­tions In­terim Force In Le­banon (UNIFIL) ex­cept for one of­fi­cer. But the clos­est UN peace­keep­ing mis­sion for our troop is in the Golan Heights un­der the United Na­tions Dis­en­gage­ment Observer Force (UNDOF).

How­ever, in Le­banon, 11 Fi­jians work­ing there are safe.

A Repub­lic of Fiji Mil­i­tary Forces sol­dier, Ma­jor Saula Koro, is based at the United Na­tions In­terim Force In Le­banon (UNIFIL) head­quar­ters in Naqoura.

It is about one-and-a-half hours drive from the blast epi­cen­tre.

Ma­jor Koro is a Staff Of­fi­cer at UNIFIL’s Joint Lo­gis­tic Op­er­a­tion Cen­tre (JLOC).

Com­man­der RFMF, Rear Ad­mi­ral

Vil­iame Naupoto said he spoke with Ma­jor Koro yes­ter­day.

Ten other Fi­jians are em­ployed with the United Na­tions. Nine are based in Tyre. Rear Ad­mi­ral Naupoto said he also spoke with Ere­masi Lovo­dua who as­sured that he was safe. He is based in Beirut.

Most of the United Na­tions civil­ian staff are for­mer RFMF em­ploy­ees.

Re­sults of the ex­plo­sion that rocked Beirut, Le­banon.

Ma­jor Saula Koro.

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