Germany investigates far-right incidents in military guard unit

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BERLIN (AP) – A company of the German Army Honor Guard Battalion has been suspended from official duty in connection with an investigation into initiation rituals, alleged sexual abuse and incidents of far right, the German Defense Ministry announced on Friday.

The company has been suspended from official events “until further notice” while the allegations are investigated, ministry spokesman Arne Collatz told reporters in Berlin. He stressed that the ministry was pursuing a policy of “non-tolerance”.

The Guard Battalion, which has nearly 1,000 members, pays military honors during state visits and other official events. Collatz said the internal investigation covered “several dozen” soldiers and the alleged incidents came to light following reports from fellow battalion members.

The ministry spokesman did not give details of the alleged incidents. His comments came after the Der Spiegel news magazine reported that a witness said that a far-right group of at least six soldiers had formed within the company.

German officials have said they are determined to eradicate right-wing extremism in the military. Last year Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer dissolved a company from the KSK Special Forces Unit, claiming that a far-right culture had been allowed to develop behind a “wall of secrecy”.

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