In view of the escalating gang violence in Sweden, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson wants to call on the country’s military for help. Kristersson said he would discuss with the heads of the armed forces and police today how soldiers could support police officers in their work against criminal gangs.
It was initially unclear how the military could be involved. In the past, however, there had been a suggestion that soldiers could take over protective tasks from the police so that their officers had more time to fight crime.
“No other country in Europe has experienced anything like this”
“Sweden has never experienced anything like this,” Kristersson said in a televised address to the nation. “No other country in Europe has experienced anything like this.” Gang crime has been a huge problem in Sweden for years, but recently fatal gun attacks have increased dramatically.
The gangs often recruit minors from immigrant neighborhoods to carry out the attacks. Last year, 60 people were killed by gunfire, and this September alone there were eleven deaths, both record highs. Two of these eleven deaths occurred from Wednesday to Thursday alone.
An 18-year-old was shot dead in a suburb of Stockholm on Wednesday evening. A few hours later, a man was killed by gunfire in Jordbro, south of Stockholm, and another was injured. A young woman also died in an explosion in Uppsala early on Thursday morning. The explosion damaged five houses and was registered 20 kilometers away. Police classified it as a homicide. According to media reports, the woman who was killed was probably not the target.
Four people were arrested in connection with the shooting in Jordbro, and two people were taken into custody in connection with the explosion in Uppsala, according to police. It was not known whether the crimes were connected. According to media reports, at least two of the three incidents were related to a feud between crime gangs.
Police: Gang war threatens the country’s security
The violence is reportedly fueled by a feud over drugs and weapons between two gangs led by a Turkish-Swedish citizen living in Turkey and a former accomplice. Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg said the gang war threatened the country’s security.
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer spoke of a deeply tragic development. “I understand that people feel anger, fear and sadness,” he told TV4.
Kirstersson has so far not been able to keep promises
Kristersson’s center-right government took office last year promising to take a tough stance on gang crime. He accused the left-wing previous government of being responsible for the situation with its “irresponsible migration policy and failed integration.”
But Kristersson’s government has not yet been able to get the situation under control either. He announced on Thursday that he would also change the criminal law so that the police would have more rights, criminals would have to serve longer prison sentences and witnesses would receive more protection. “Swedish laws are not designed to deal with gang wars and child soldiers,” he said.