Essex

Colchester barracks: Paratrooper 'shocked' by 'racist abuse'

Hani Gue Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Former paratrooper Hani Gue told a tribunal he was subjected to racist abuse in the Army

A former paratrooper endured racial abuse and described racism as "prevalent" in his battalion, an employment tribunal heard.

Hani Gue told the tribunal he saw Nazi, Confederate and SS flags and photographs of Adolf Hitler displayed in accommodation at Colchester.

Mr Gue and colleague L/Cpl Nkululeko Zulu have taken the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to a tribunal alleging they suffered racial discrimination.

The MoD is contesting the claims.

Mr Gue joined the Army in 2012 before transferring to 3rd Battalion (3 Para) A Company, based at Merville Barracks.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Mr Gue's colleague L/Cpl Nkululeko Zulu has joined him in taking the Ministry of Defence to a tribunal

In his statement to a central London employment hearing on Tuesday, Mr Gue, who describes himself as a black African of Ugandan nationality, recalled colleagues using racist language to describe Kenyan soldiers during a deployment to the country.

Mr Gue, who changed his Muslim surname of Hassan for fear that it could make him more likely to be a target, said racism was "prevalent in 3 Para and A Company in particular" and often passed off as "banter".

He also said photographs of himself and Mr Zulu, from South Africa, were pinned to the door of his room daubed with swastikas, Hitler moustaches and racist language.

Mr Gue, who asked to leave the Army in January last year, said: "During the course of my employment I noticed that there were Nazi, Confederate and SS flags and photographs of Hitler displayed in A Company's accommodation which is a stone's throw away from the battalion headquarters."

He said the alleged abuse, which included people smashing bottles and urinating in the corridor where he was staying, had "an extreme psychological impact" on him.

He added: "Unfortunately, my experiences of racial harassment and discrimination during the course of my employment have led me to realise that the Army is not the honourable institution I once thought it to be."

Mr Gue and Mr Zulu say they were racially abused, harassed and that the Army did not take reasonable steps to prevent it.

The MoD said the armed forces take complaints very seriously and at least one incident was referred to the Royal Military Police..

The tribunal continues.

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