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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 February 2007, 14:31 GMT
Iraq civilian abuse claims probed
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The battalion is part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland
Claims that soldiers from a British regiment abused civilians in Iraq are being investigated by military police.

The allegations were made in a book written after interviews with members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, based at Stirling Castle.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said it was aware of the allegations.

"If we have any grounds to suspect any criminal action, we will always investigate and take appropriate action," she said.

The allegations feature in a book by Mark Nicol, entitled Condor Blues.

'Bound, hooded and kicked'

He told the BBC that many of the soldiers became brutalised by the climate of violence they experienced in the Gulf.

In one incident a 14-year-old Iraqi boy was bound, hooded and kicked. He was then left inside a baking-hot Warrior vehicle for more than an hour with a sandbag on him and denied water.

Mr Nicol stressed that although the boy had been "roughed up", this had happened at a highly stressful period during a fire fight near Amara in 2004.

He denied newspaper claims that soldiers gloated and laughed as they loaded the bodies of dead insurgents into a Land Rover, before realising that some of those who died were only boys.

'Warts and all'

"Eighteen and 19-year-old British kids had to pick up the warm corpses of people they had slain from the battlefield - there wasn't much laughing and gloating," he said.

"It was a harrowing experience for these soldiers to be in these difficult situations.

"Yes, they were brutalised and their behaviour became more exploitative, but it's in the context of a complex emotional background."

He added: "My book is a warts and all account but it's not intended to damn soldiers or to sensationalise."

Mr Nicol accepted that the soldiers racially abused Iraqis.

The Argylls form the 5th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, which was created last year.

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