13 Jan 2004

Fiji police officers train for peacekeeping missions

4:37 pm on 13 January 2004

A group of 71 Fiji police officers have gone into camp to train for deployment on peacekeeping missions in three overseas countries.

Sixty of them will be selected after medical tests and a week long training course.

A police spokesman, Mesake Koroi, says 30 officers will be sent to Liberia, 15 to Kosovo and 15 to the Solomon Islands.

The deployment to Liberia will be a first for Fiji and follows a UN request and a fact-finding mission to the country by police commissioner Andrew Hughes.

Mr Koroi says Fiji peacekeepers are in high demand.

"When Commissioner Hughes spoke with the officers at the beginning of their training camp, he emphasised the fact that he had had discussions at the highest level, at the United Nations and in Liberia and in Kosovo, where the people there are quite anxious to get Fiji police onto the grounds. It shows that their reputations are quite good out there in those countries."