Sweden may use army to quell gang violence

COPENHAGEN, Sept 29: Sweden could soon call its military to help reduce escalating gang violence, according to plans announced by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.  

Eleven people have been shot dead this month, including bystanders. In addition, a young woman died in an explosion on Thursday. 

Kristersson said he would meet national police chief Anders Thornberg and military commander-in-chief Micael Bydén on Friday to see how the armed forces could help police in their fight against criminal gangs. 

“We will hunt down the gangs and we will defeat them,” the conservative prime minister said late on Thursday. 

“We will bring them to justice. If they are Swedish citizens, they will be locked up with very long prison sentences. If they are foreign citizens, they will be deported.”

Sweden has been wrestling with rampant gang crime for years. 

This month, violence has escalated once again, reportedly linked partly to a suspected conflict in the criminal Foxtrot network. 

Kristersson blamed years of political naivety for the dramatic situation.

“Irresponsible immigration policies and failed integration have led us here.” 

Exclusion and parallel societies provide a breeding ground for criminal gangs, he said.

“There they can ruthlessly recruit children and train future murderers.”

Swedish legislation was not designed for “gang warfare”, according to him.

His government was now changing this, he said, both at the level of migration and judicial policies. 

As examples, he pointed to the construction of new youth prisons to separate young offenders from adult criminals. Work was being done to ensure all children learn the Swedish language, he said.