Sweden seeks Military Help against Gang Violence

EU | September 29, 2023, Friday // 10:17|  views

Sweden's prime minister has called in the chief of the armed forces to help curb a rise in gang killings, the BBC reports.

The two men and the country's police chief will meet on Friday to discuss what role the army can play.

In the past 24 hours, 12 men were shot dead in Stockholm and a 25-year-old woman was killed in an explosion at a home in a town north of the capital.

"We will go after the gangs and defeat them," Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson promised in a televised address.

Army chief Micael Byden told the Swedish newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" that he was ready to help police efforts.

It is not yet clear what strategy will be chosen, but it is thought that the military may take over some policing duties to allow officers to free up resources to fight crime.

Twelve people have been killed since the start of September, the highest number since December 2019.

Swedish media linked the record number of murders to infighting within the Foxtrot Network gang.

Prime Minister Kristersson said Sweden had not seen anything like this before and that "no other country in Europe" was facing a similar situation.

He emphasized that children and innocent bystanders are increasingly victims of violence.

The overnight explosion in Uppsala, about 80km north of Stockholm, killed a woman believed to be a neighbor of a man linked to organized crime.

She fell asleep "on a very ordinary night but never managed to wake up," the prime minister said.

A few hours earlier, a man in his 20s was killed in a shooting in Jordbro, south of the capital, according to public broadcaster SVT.

An 18-year-old man was shot dead on Thursday evening near a crowded sports ground in Stockholm.

Last year, more than 60 people died in shootings in Sweden, and this year is expected to be the same or worse, writes the BBC.

A government report published in 2021 stated that four out of every million residents die by gunfire each year in Sweden, compared to 1.6 people per million across Europe.

The police linked the violence to the poor integration of immigrants, increasing social inequalities and drug trafficking.

The prime minister said on Thursday that there would be increased surveillance and tougher penalties for carrying weapons, as well as tougher deportation decisions and stop-and-frisk zones.

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Tags: gang, army, Sweden, killings


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