Two black paratroopers, who are suing the British Army for racial harassment and discrimination, have claimed they heard service personnel using derogatory terms during a placement in Kenya.
Lance Corporal Nkululeko Zulu and Ugandan Private Hani Gue, both of the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (3 Para) described how they were subjected to racial slurs like “black c–t” and “n—–” during an employment tribunal on Tuesday.
Pte Gue said he was deployed to Kenya with 3 Para in November 2017 for Exercise Askari Storm.
During the welcome brief, he claims the troops were told they “should not behave badly while in Kenya or (they) would go to prison and get AIDS”.
He also alleges that throughout the Askari Storm exercise, he heard 3 Para refer to Kenyan forces and locals as ‘n—–‘, ‘choggies’ and ‘African idiots’.
Pte Gue said: “I was stunned by the racial abuse I witnessed during Exercise Askari Storm.
“I confided in Mr Zulu about how I was feeling and he shared my feelings of hurt and anger.”
When he arrived back in the UK on January 18, 2018, Private Gue requested early termination, but says when he received confirmation of his termination, nowhere did it cite his reasons for leaving.
“This reinforced my views that the Army would not do anything to address my concerns or take my complaints seriously,” he said.
The two have alleged that members of 3 Para posted photos of soldiers posing with English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, on their Facebook accounts and that a picture of Pte Gue and L/Cpl Zulu together was defaced with swastikas and Hitler moustaches.
Under questioning from Simon Tibbitts, for the MoD, Mr Gue described Kenya as a “big wake up call” regarding his service career.
Mr Tibbitts said the alleged racist online post was taken “very seriously” by the Army, that it was promptly taken down and a Lance Corporal was eventually demoted.
Mr Tibbitts suggested the chain of command would be dealing with it seriously as “everyone knew this type of behaviour would not be accepted and that sanctions would be involved”.
Pte Gue had earlier told the tribunal how joined the Army in October 2012 after leaving City University London, where he was studying criminology and sociology.
“In the early stages of my career I heard my colleagues use racial slurs such as ‘n—–‘ and ‘p—‘ on numerous occasions”, he claims, adding that although often passed off as ‘banter’, he found it very intimidating and offensive “as a non-white person.”
“My experience in A Company had an extreme psychological impact on me, leading me to make the decision to change my surname from Gue-Hassan to Gue. This was because Hassan is Muslim and I thought it would make me more prone to racial abuse if I continued to be known by this name,” he said.
A spokesman from the Ministry of Defence said: “Our personnel should be able to work in an environment free from harassment, intimidation and discrimination and we take all complaints very seriously.
“It would not be appropriate to comment on the case while proceedings are on-going,” they added.
The tribunal is due to continue into the next week.