International peacekeepers reducing Sinai presence as security deteriorates
Commander Humphery Tawake, who heads the South Pacific nation's foreign peacekeeping force, said Fiji was asked to scale down its presence by the leaders of the international peacekeeping operation in Egypt.
Tawake said the US and Colombia were also planning to reduce troop numbers as peacekeepers in the northern Sinai find themselves increasingly caught in the middle of fighting between Egypt's armed forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State group.
"It's not only affecting us, it's affecting the whole mission," Tawake said.
"The threat and the danger that has pre-existed since 2013 has spilled over. Some of our locations were hit by indirect fire and mortars last week."
He said that five of Fiji's remote outposts in the Sinai have been closed recently, leaving just two or three operating.
|Five of Fiji's remote outposts in the Sinai have been closed recently, leaving just two or three operating|
Twelve nations currently contribute a total of about 1,700 troops to the force, with Fiji authorised to contribute up to 338 troops.
The US is authorised to contribute up to 707 troops.
|The Obama administration was quietly reviewing the future of America's role in the Sinai|
The Associated Press reported last year that the Obama administration was quietly reviewing the future of America's role in the Sinai, with options ranging from beefing up protection for US troops to pulling them out altogether.
Reports suggest an escalating campaign from the Egyptian military in North Sinai with increasing troops deployed in the cities of Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah.
This week a delegation of Egyptian members of parliament met with Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi for an extraordinary dinner gathering in Cairo ahead of a vote to extend the state of emergency in North Sinai province, an MP in attendance has said.
"Sobhi said that unnamed foreign intelligence services have plotted against Egypt since June 30, for which the army and police in Sinai are paying the price," the MP told The New Arab on the condition of anonymity.
Agencies contributed to this report