Soldiers 'tried to scrub black trooper white' white

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The Independent Online
A black soldier was subjected to brutal racism, including physical assaults in which his room-mates tried to scrub him "clean and white", it was alleged last night.

The Army said it has received allegations from Rifleman Clive Walker of the Royal Green Jackets that he suffered racial abuse and assaults at the hands of a number of his white colleagues. A spokeswoman said some soldiers had been detained by Military Police but were later released pending further investigation, and that the Army's Special Investigation Branch had launched an official investigation.

The spokeswoman would not confirm or deny newspaper reports that Rifleman Walker's skin was scrubbed raw by the soldiers, his clothes were cut up, the contents of his locker were smashed and he was kicked out of his dormitory. Rifleman Walker is still serving with the Royal Green Jackets.

Last week the Ministry of Defence received a final warning to show real commitment to racial equality or face legal action. The Commission for Racial Equality said not enough progress had been made in overcoming discrimination in the Army since the MoD signed an agreement in March last year. The CRE gave the Army a year to put matters right. The CRE may then issue a non-discrimination notice requiring the MoD to take specific actions or be taken to court.

The CRE cited the report from the Office of Public Management, released two weeks ago, which gave more evidence of the "deeply entrenched problem of racism within the armed services". The commission was concerned that the MoD had that report since last September before it was released, and that it should have been implementing the plan which it had agreed with the CRE during that time.

Matthew Brace