13 May 2004

Fiji reservists eager for private hire in Iraq

10:53 am on 13 May 2004

There's been a new rush in Fiji by reserve soldiers to sign up for private deployment in Iraq despite escalating violence there.

Fiji TV reports that a group with links to ASK Custer Battles of the United States is doing the recruiting.

At Nausori yesterday, over 400 turned up to fill 250 available places for a deployment which will begin in two weeks.

Many are reported to be troops who served in Iraq last year with the British security company, Global Risk Strategies, but left because of grievances.

A spokesman for Custer Battles, Captain Kitione Sikivou, says the men will be guarding oil pipelines and manning checkpoints.

The new enthusiasm for recruitment comes despite the deaths of four Fijian soldiers and the wounding of many others in insurgent attacks in Iraq.