Sweden calls in army to combat severe gang violence

Ulf Kristersson. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency via AP

Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, has called on Sweden’s army forces to help defeat the current and severe gang violence happening in the country.

“We’re going to hunt down the gangs and we’re going to defeat them,” he said during a televised address earlier this week.

Alone 11 people have died in September due to gang-related violence. Just on 28 September, 2 men were shot in Stockholm and a young woman was killed in a bomb attack near Uppsala.

A hard and unusual time for Sweden

“It’s a difficult time for Sweden. I cannot stress enough how serious the situation is. Sweden has never seen anything like this before. No other country in Europe sees anything like it,” Kristersson said on the evening of the recent attack, stressing how it’s affecting more and more innocent people and children.

He then blamed immigration policies for having failed, and mentioned how ‘political naivety’ is also a reason for the rise of gang violence. But now the country is ready to take on a different approach, he said.

But the PM isn’t the only one who suggested bringing in the army. Former PM Magdalena Andersson did so too, saying she hoped the government would summon the army to handle the violence. Head of the armed forced, Micael Bydén already said he is ready to support and work with the police forces.

New approaches and preventing young people from gang recruitment

On 29 September, the current PM met with the army’s commander-in-chief to discuss how to go forward.

“Everything is on the table, both within the current law, and the laws that need to be changed quickly,” Kristersson said.

Next Thursday the proposals from the meeting will be announced by Kristersson’s center-right government. Perhaps important to mention is, that the army won’t be given ‘direct’ policing tasks, police chief Anders Thornberg. But the police just can’t do all the work themselves. The army can thereby help with analyses, logistics and knowledge of explosives.

Lastly, Kristersson emphasized the need to prevent young people from being recruited into gangs. Worrisome is, that senior police official Mats Lindstrom allegedly has said that he had seen ‘many messages from youths contacting gangs for contract killings.’

Source: Politico, Stripes and Macau Business

About Sofie Rønnelund

Sofie Roennelund is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Sofie Rønnelund

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