2 Sep 2014

Effort to release Fiji soldiers stepped up

9:06 pm on 2 September 2014

Fiji's military commander says the United Nations has stepped up its efforts to secure the release of 45 of its soldiers held by Syrian rebels.

The troops were serving as part of a UN observer force in the demilitarised Golan Heights between Syria and Israel when they were captured by al-Nusra last Thursday.

Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga says the location of the soldiers is still unknown but they are believed to be well cared for and in good health.

He says the UN has increased its activity in the past 24 hours, with professional negotiators arriving on the ground in Syria to try and secure their release.

"We have also been assured by UN headquarters that the UN will bring all its resources to bear to ensure the safe return of our soldiers and for that we are truly thankful that we have the full support of the UN."

Mosese Tikoitoga.

al-Nusra has demanded a ransom for the soldiers' return.