27 Oct 2004

Thousands of Fijians apply for jobs in Iraq

10:10 am on 27 October 2004

Thousands of Fijians are reported to be rushing to sign up for high-risk jobs in Iraq.

The Fiji Times reports that desperation for employment and better pay are the main reasons for the rush despite the risk of kidnapping, roadside bombings, shoot-outs and gruesome murders.

For the past week, thousands of civilians, reserve soldiers and even regular soldiers have been applying for recruitment by a Kuwait-based company, Meridian Services, for logistics support work in Iraq.

The company's Fiji representative, Timoci Lolohea, who has previously worked in Iraq with Global Risk Strategies, says the men are being fully briefed on the risks involved.

Mr Lolohea says about 850 drivers, tradesmen and engineers will leave Fiji this week but up to 2-thousand will be needed next month.

The recruits are quoted as saying they are prepared to face the risks to earn money for their families.

Others say facing death is a choice they would have to make because the money is too good to resist.

Their pay will be between 2,100 to 3,600 US dollars a month with further risk allowances paid every time they cross the border into Iraq.