Thursday July 18, 2024

Swedish PM vows to defeat gangs, seeks military help

September 29, 2023

STOCKHOLM: Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson vowed on Thursday to defeat criminal gangs after a surge of violence that has claimed the lives of a growing number of children and innocent bystanders.

Kristersson said he would meet on Friday with the national chief of police and the commander in chief of the military “to see how the armed forces can help the police fight the gangs.”

The Scandinavian country has in recent years been in the grip of a bloody conflict between gangs fighting over arms and drug trafficking, which has escalated over vendettas between the gangs.

Apartment buildings and homes across the country are frequently rocked by explosions, and shootings in public places have become regular occurrences in the usually tranquil country.

“We are going to hunt down the gangs. We are going to defeat the gangs,” Kristersson said in a televised address to the nation Thursday evening, after three people were killed in shootings and explosions overnight on Wednesday. Among the dead was an 18-year-old man at a crowded football pitch, and a 25-year-old woman with no known connection to the gangs.

“An increasing number of children and completely innocent people are affected by this extreme violence,” Kristersson said. “Sweden has never seen anything like this. No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this.”

He said serious organised crime had risen over the past decade “due to naivite”. “An irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration led us here,” the conservative leader said. “Swedish legislation was not designed for gang wars and child soldiers. But we´re changing that now,” he said.