14 Mar 2006

Fiji army on recruitment drive

3:23 pm on 14 March 2006

The Fiji army is on a recruitment drive and will take in 100 new soldiers, of which half will be female.

An army spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Orisi Rabukawaqa, says this is part of a normal process but it does follow the departure of 300 soldiers of all ranks in the last two years.

He says many have joined private security companies, others have signed up to armies in Australia, New Zealand and Britain while some officers have contracts at U.N. organisations.

Lt. Colonel Rabukawaqa says the army knows it must retain its experienced staff but it can't stop them leaving for greener pastures.

He says the current recruitment drive will bring army ranks up to 3,200 which is about where it should be.

"It's twofold. One is for female soldiers. The other is actually a normal recruiting of engineers who would become trade trainees - basic carpentry skills, bricklaying etc - to enable them to actually assist in rural development work around the country."

Lt. Colonel Rabukawaqa.