Fijian soldiers arrive in Tonga to assist with rehabilitation efforts

Thirty-two Republic of the Fiji Military Forces personnel left Australia yesterday to help with rehabilitation efforts in Tonga.

RFMF Commander, Major-General Ro Jone Kalouniwai said the contingent has been divided into two groups.

The first group comprising 32 soldiers were airlifted on a C117 aircraft from Brisbane to Tongatapu.

The soldiers flew to Brisbane last month where they completed quarantine requirements.

Kalouniwai said the other 19 personnel will be maintained as the rear party and will depart on the HMAS Canberra over the next few days to hand over with the HMAS Adelaide that is currently in Tonga.

He Kalouniwai said the island itself is a work bubble for the task force as they continue with the rehabilitation on specific islands.

“We have discussed their responsibilities and there is a likely timeframe of one to two months before there is any other discussions or consideration for a rotation that will happen with the troops – either we send new troops from Fiji or they will have a rotational basis with the rear party, consisting of the rotational elements that would sustain the work efforts in Tonga.”

The Commander confirmed that the HMAS Adelaide is now safe after a several Australian military personnel who were tested positive for Covid a few weeks ago were cleared.

The Fijian soldiers comprise of Engineers, Medics, and other specialists who will conduct rehabilitation and further assessment in Tonga.