BELGRADE – The German army is currently embroiled in a scandal after reports surfaced of “sadistic sexual practices” on trainees at an elite army camp in Pfullendorf, Baden-Württemberg.

German media first reported on Friday that during the training of combat first responders, “sexually sadistic practices” were employed as part of the programme, according to Spiegel Online.

Seven soldiers have been suspended and are to be dismissed without notice amid an investigation against them regarding grievous bodily harm against trainees, as well as false imprisonment, and sexual assault.

Prosecutors have also asked the Bundeswehr (German army) to submit further information about other cases of sexual abuse.

According to Spiegel, an investigation was first launched in October 2016 after a female lieutenant reported incidents directly to the Defence Ministry. The lieutenant described how she saw unbelievable scenes of recruits being forced to strip naked in front of their comrades, with trainers filming.

She also reported that trainers had forced the recruits to do exercises that served no purpose other than sexual ones, such as reviewing how to insert medical devices into the anuses of male and female recruits, which was also recorded.

According to Spiegel, both of these incidents have since been confirmed by further investigations.

The Bundeswehr also gave prosecutors a video depicting soldiers tied to chairs with bags over their heads being hosed down with water.

The recruits were supposed to be trained for medical situations, including for operations behind enemy lines.

The Bundeswehr confirmed on Wednesday that their highest ranking member, Inspector General Volker Wieker, is visiting the barracks in Pfullendorf, reportedly to have closed door talks with superiors, TheLocal.de reported.

Despite the force now being a purely voluntary one, a report last August showed that hundreds of soldiers have requested to leave the army in recent years.