1 Jul 2005

Fiji military takes disciplinary action against soldiers absent without leave

10:14 am on 1 July 2005

Fiji's military has begun disciplinary action against soldiers who left the country to work as security officers abroad without resigning.

Military lawyer, Kitione Tuinaosara, says 22 soldiers face disciplinary action for deserting or going absent without official leave.

A private has been detained, a corporal fined and a warrant officer is awaiting court martial.

Military police will track down others and arrest them as they return to Fiji from Iraq and Kuwait.

Th Fiji Times quotes Major Tuinaosara as saying deserting the army is a serious offence which used to warrant death by firing squad.

Major Tuinaosara says the military cannot afford to have soldiers running away at will because they are needed in Fiji for deployment and may be called up for war and other operations.

He says if soldiers desert, there will be nobody left at the front line.