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.