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Playing 'enemy'

Shalveen Chand
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A FORMER Fijian British Army soldier has told English media that he suffered "appalling racial prejudice" while serving as a soldier and is planning to sue the Ministry of Defence in the UK.

Inoke Momonakaya claimed he was ordered to dress up as a Taliban insurgent for an army training video and had a black "troll" doll named after him by a racist sergeant-major.

He has claimed in the English newspaper, The Sunday Times that he suffered appalling prejudice while serving in the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

It was reported that on one occasion, he and five other Fijians from his unit were chosen to play "enemy" Taliban fighters for a Ministry of Defence training DVD because they were black and the filmmakers wanted to make the video as realistic as possible.

Mr Momonakaya said white soldiers were used to play British roles in the film, which was to teach troops how to spot clues that roadside bombs had been planted.

The former lance-corporal who served one tour in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, also alleged that, while he was based in Cyprus, a sergeant-major named a black troll doll after him.

According to claims made by Mr Momonakaya, such remarks and actions were very hurtful and he had suffered as a consequence.

He said he was now planning legal action in the civil courts against the Ministry of Defence.

The military attach at the British High Commission in Suva, Major Jim Hall said he was aware of the article and would comment on the matter later.

Major Hall is in the west awaiting the arrival of the body of another soldier Rick Rodan.

Chairman of the British Royal Legion Ratu Meli Vesikula said he would not comment on the issue.

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