Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson speaks during a news conference regarding the deteriorating security situation, in Stockholm, Sweden. EPA-EFE/Henrik Montgomery SWEDEN OUT


Swedish Prime Minister calls on army to help fight soaring gang crime


Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has called on the armed forces and police to take action following a rise in violent crime .

In a rare television speech to the nation on the evening of September 28, Kristersson said: “I cannot emphasise enough how serious the situation is. Sweden has never seen anything like it before. No other country in Europe sees anything like it currently.”

Sweden has been suffering under a brutal spike in gun crimes and bomb attacks, with 11 people being shot dead so far in September alone, three of whom died on September 27. The violence is in large part caused by criminal immigrant gangs, most notably the so-called “Foxtrot gang”.

“It is political naïveté and cluelessness that has brought us here,” Kristersson said, apparently referring to previous, progressive governments.

“It is an irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration effort that has brought us here. Social exclusion and parallel societies feed the criminal gangs… they can ruthlessly recruit children and train them as future killers.

“We will hunt the gangs, we will defeat the gangs,” he said.

Kristersson will meet the commander-in-chief of the army and the country’s police commissioner to discuss what is needed to tackle the problem. “Everything is on the table, both within the current law, and the laws that need to be changed quickly,” he said.

“Swedish legislation was not designed for gang wars and child soldiers. But we’re changing that now.”

He referred to new legislation that will allow police to wire-tap gangs in the coming days, as well as plans for body searches in select regions, stiffer sentencing for repeat offenders and double jail terms for some offences.

“We’ll put them on trial. If they are Swedish citizens they will be locked away with long prison sentences and if they are foreigners they will be deported,” he said.

“We are going to deport foreigners who move in criminal gang circles even if they haven’t committed a crime,” Kristersson added.

Micael Bydén, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, has already indicated the military is ready to support the police and use force.

That has raised some doubts within the army. Major General Carl-Johan Edström, the Chief of Joint Operations, said the military would need to “rearrange priorities”.

It is unclear how the co-operation between army and police would take shape but law enforcement officers would probably be in charge, with troops expected to guard certain buildings and areas.

National Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg said: “Unfortunately, there is little to suggest that this serious violence will stop soon.

“We think it is likely that there will be new incidents of violence before the trend reverses.” He described the scale of the current terror-like criminal brutality as “unprecedented”.

Earlier on September 28, the opposition Social Democrats, the Swedish Parliament’s largest party, urged the administration to modify the law to allow the military to assist in combating gang violence.

“This is not Sweden, this is not how Sweden is supposed to be,” Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson told a news conference.

The right-wing Sweden Democrats proposed lowering the sentencing age to 13 years, as the gangs use young children to do their bidding, even as assassins. Party members also want to enforce curfews and remove more migrants, as the criminal gangs are overwhelmingly made up of them.

The leader of the Foxtrot gang is a Kurdish immigrant called Rawa Majid, known as the “Kurdish Fox”. He is currently in hiding in Turkey, while Turkey is blocking Swedish ascension into NATO because Ankara thinks Sweden doesn’t work hard enough against what it labels as “Kurdish terrorists”.

It is unsual for a Swedish Prime Minister to speak to the nation as Kristersson has done. In general, that only occurs when major events take place such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic or the assassination of political leaders.