Army ritual abuse scandal spreads

Army ritual abuse scandal spreads
Photo: DPA
The hazing scandal in the German army, in which young recruits have reportedly been forced to eat raw animal liver until they vomited, has snowballed with more soldiers blowing the whistle on ugly rites of passage, reports said Sunday.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, Reinhold Robbe, told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that at least five more soldiers – some serving and some of whom had left the Bundeswehr – had come to him with stories of brutalisation.

“Following the reports from one of the soldiers of the incidents in the mountain infantry unit in Mittenwald, further soldiers from the unit involved, but also soldiers from other locations, have reported to me. I will inform the (parliamentary) defence committee about it next week,” he said.

Members of the mountain infantry battalion 233 at the Edelweiss barracks in Mittenwald, Bavaria, forced their comrades to eat raw liver washed down with wheat beer until they threw up, Bild am Sonntag reported.

The hazing was supposed to be a rite of passage for soldiers to climb the internal hierarchy within the unit.

The state prosecutor in Munich was investigating one soldier on suspicion of willful bodily harm.

Robbe said the reports also pointed to an alcohol problem in the Bundeswehr.

“It appears from the stories that excessive alcohol consumption has apparently played a large role. I have the impression there is an alcohol problem in certain troop units of our Bundeswehr during off-duty hours, that we must combat decisively.

“Under no circumstances must binge drinking be allowed in the Bundeswehr – which is a combat army – in domestic or foreign locations.”

The scandal began when a young soldier who trained at the camp in Mittenwald came forward to describe hazing that included recruits being forced to drink alcohol until they were sick, eat raw pig liver, and conduct climbing exercises in the nude before their fellow soldiers, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported last week.

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