I've read only a little about the case of the Fijian soldier that got into trouble in England and I wonder now who looked after this man when he probably had some kind of post-traumatic stress. It sounds very sad and I wonder about the Fiji Embassy in England or whoever is taking up his case.
Uluilakeba homeless in UK
March 19, 2011 06:14:37 PM
Former British army Soldier Epeli ‘Pex’ Uluilakeba now faces being homeless after British Army Defense of Officials (MoD) ordered him off MoD property.
Officials of Dr Liam Fox the British Secretary of Defense had ordered Uluilakeba to leave after discovering that he had been living with a Fijian friend on Ministry of Defense property, reports Daily Telegraph.
Uluilakeba’s case has been put to the British Home office by a charity worker for Veterans Aid, an organisation that helps homeless British Veterans.
Uluilakeba is being threatened with deportation because he temporarily took to heavy drinking, leading him on one occasion to wave a bread knife at a fellow soldier.
He was jailed and discharged from the Army with only the clothes on his back.
Uluilakeba was badly injured in Iraq in 2005 when his Snatch Land Rover was blown up by a bomb that killed three of his comrades.
By Tevita Vuibau
more of the story from Pacnews:
Fijian man in British Army fight for UK residency
By Online Editor
2:54 pm GMT+12, 01/03/2011, United Kingdom
Private Epeli Uluilakeba with his comrades in 2005 A Fijian man who has served in the British army and was wounded in Iraq says he will refuse to leave the UK, even if the British Government rejects his re-application for permanent residency.
Epeli Uluilakeba was wounded during his first tour of Iraq and sent back for a second stint.
Private Uluilakeba was later dismissed from the British Armed Forces after serving time in a military prison for threatening a fellow soldier.
Both he and his supporters say the military didn't provide him with enough physical or physiological support, and are vowing to fight to allow him to stay in the UK.
Presenter: Stephanie March
Speaker: Epeli Uluilakeba, former soldier in the British Armed Forces from Fiji
MARCH: In the eight years that allied forces have been in Iraq.... thousands of Fijians have served there as part of the British Armed Forces. One of them is 28-year old Private Epeli Uluilakeba. His was first deployed to Iraq in 2005.
ULUILAKEBA: So we went to Iraq and then we got blown up by the improvised explosive device, you call it IED, which killed three of my colleagues, two of us survived.
MARCH: He was evacuated, and returned to the UK for medical treatment. Within a year, he was sent back to Iraq.
ULUILAKEBA: I can't say no, you know? Because the army policy you have to go, you can't reject them.
MARCH: After returning from his second tour, Private Uluilakeba's mental health started to decline.
ULUILAKEBA: I told them I have dreams like I'm angry all the time, and I drink heavily and I couldn't stop so I started to see psychiatric (sic) , and it didn't really help me, and they kept discharging me from psychiatric
MARCH: Private Uluilakeba's heavy drinking became a serious problem. He threatened a fellow soldier with a knife at a military base. He was court martialled and sentenced to a year in a military prison. He was let out after seven months for good behaviour, the army discharged him as "no longer being of service". Fijian soldiers have to serve with the British Army for 22 years, to gain the maximum benefits, like residency and a pension. With little to go back to in Fiji, Private Uluilakeba applied for a permanent residency permit to stay in the UK. Without citing a reason, it was rejected by the Foreign Office. Private Uluilakeba is living rent-free with some of his Fijian cousins in England. He's is not allowed to claim benefits, work, or open a bank account. Through the mother of one of his fellow soldiers killed in the IED blast, Private Uluilakeba has found some supporters in the UK. Elaine Laga, who lost her own soldier son, is one of them. She says the military and the government have treated Private Uluilakeba unfairly.
LAGA: I don't think he should have been discharged from the army 'services no longer required', I think he should have had medical discharge or had proper treatment for PTSD.
MARCH: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
LAGA: Yes, definitely. I think a little more care and attention should have been paid to him really.
MARCH: Ms Laga says while Private Uluilakeba is still struggling to deal with the things he witnessed in Iraq, he has stopped drinking alcohol and tried to turn his life around.
LAGA: You know he's kind of pulled things together for himself. At the weekend he was out with another group of lads helping the homeless and distributing things to the homeless and distributing things to the homeless. And he is a real devoted Christian. To me he is a good person and he deserves a break,
MARCH: It's not clear how long it will take for the British Government to decide on his second application for permanent residency. He says regardless of the outcome he has no intention of leaving the United Kingdom.
ULUILAKEBA: If the result come back and then get rejected again, I will stay here and I will fight for this until I get it. I won't leave this country until I get this.
MARCH: Do you have any advice for other Fijians, young Fijians who are in the military back in Fiji, what would you say to them about going on tour with the British military?
ULUILAKEBA: If they want to join, it's up to them. I can't stop them. But the only thing I can say is if they join they have to stand by themselves, they have to stand by the truth, to fight for them(selves), like what I am doing now. Because if I didn't do this thing, then who might be the one to do it later on. Because they didn't really treat the Fijians very well in this country. I can say that.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA PACIFIC BEAT/PACNEWS