The German defense ministry has uncovered 18 cases of mistreatment perpetrated on subordinates by superiors in military barracks, the German media say in reports published Thursday. A 14-page ministry report says the mistreatment involves willful negligence and humiliating treatment perpetrated on subordinates by hierarchical superiors, injuries sustained during training and military training exercises which went wrong. According to a report in the tabloid Bild, a non-commissioned officer in Varel, northern Germany, aimed at soldiers with a loaded gun and hit them several times in the stomach and the genitals. In another report, the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung said that three soldiers were injured during a military exercise which went wrong at the airport at the southwestern city of Stuttgart. It said a non-commissioned officer had also whispered obscenities in the ears of two female recruits who were tied up and blindfolded during a mock hostage-taking exercise. According to the ministry report, probes have been opened into eight of the cases. The new allegations come in the wake of a scandal in Germany surrounding the alleged abuse of army recruits by their officers, in which a total of 20 non-commissioned officers and a captain are already under investigation by prosecutors in the western city of Münster. They are accused of mistreating 80 of their charges at a barracks in Coesfeld, at least half of whom were conscripts.