8 May 2012

UN troops held in desert

1:50 pm on 8 May 2012

Ten Fiji soldiers were reportedly kidnapped and then released by Bedouin tribesmen in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt on Monday.

The soldiers are part of the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers, which includes members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Sinai region has descended further into lawlessness since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted more than a year ago.

In March, armed Bedouin surrounded a camp belonging to the MFO mission for eight days before lifting the siege.

State news agency MENA denied that the latest incident had taken place. It cited a security source as saying that the troops had got lost, but later found their way home without any problems.

Meanwhile, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga says the soldiers were stopped at a checkpoint but were not kidnapped.

After an hour, they were allowed to go through and are safe.