Black soldier wins record £500,000 compensation from MoD for playing Taliban in training video

Mail Online | 2/10/2019 | Mark Nicol Defence Correspondent For The Mail On Sunday
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A black soldier who suffered a sustained campaign of racism which left him feeling suicidal has won £490,000 in compensation from the Ministry of Defence.

The payout – believed to be a record for racial discrimination in the Armed Forces – has been won after a six-year legal battle by Lance Corporal Inoke Momonakaya, a Fijian who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Last night L/Cpl Momonakaya, 40, told The Mail on Sunday he had been left suicidal by a relentless campaign of racist bullying by fellow soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (2 Lancs).

In one shocking incident in 2011, he and five fellow Fijian soldiers were cast as Taliban fighters for an MoD training video, due to the colour of their skin. A senior officer allegedly told them: 'You guys must be feeling right at home wearing them dishdash [Arab robes] – no one can tell the difference [between] you guys and the Taliban.'

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White soldiers played the role of British soldiers in the film, intended to help troops arriving in Afghanistan to spot clues that insurgents had planted roadside bombs. For another scene, the Fijians were told to swim 500 yards across a lake.

When L/Cpl Momonakaya – known as 'Momo' – questioned the order, an officer said: 'The reason they don't want to swim is because they are afraid of water and black people don't swim. Have you ever seen a black Olympic swimmer?'

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L/Cpl Momonakaya said: 'The racism left me wanting to kill myself. I was going to buy a rope. Today, I am still undergoing psychological treatment and I may not be able to work again. It has left me suffering from a complex form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

'It wasn't just me – other Commonwealth soldiers in my unit were treated like second-class citizens. It was a disgrace...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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