Sweden’s Prime Minister has summoned the military to help with the country’s growing gang violence crisis. Ulf Kristersson called for a meeting with the nation’s most senior military commander, as well as the national police commissioner, to discuss a strategy to combat the explosion in violence in the once peaceful Scandinavian state.
It is unclear what role the military will take in future plans, but Swedish reporters speculate that the armed forces will provide protection duties to free up law enforcement officers and allow them to focus on crime.
Mr. Kristersson said, “Sweden has never before seen anything like this,” adding that his country is experiencing violence unparalleled in Europe at present.
Sweden, which once enjoyed the highest standard of living in the world, has been grappling with gang violence, gun offenses, and grenade attacks for some years, but in September, this reached new and unprecedented levels. Mr. Kristersson called on the country’s military for help after two bomb attacks took place between rival gangs in a single night.
In 2023 to date, there have been 261 shootings and 124 explosions. On September 22, a gunman opened fire in a bar in the capital Stockholm, killing two people. In a separate incident, a 13-year-old was found shot in the head near the capital.
While much of Sweden’s mainstream media ignores the issue, most of the violence in Sweden is committed by immigrants from the Middle East and Africa. Last year, then-Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said the country had failed to sufficiently integrate migrants and parallel societies, and a violent subculture, had been allowed to emerge.
Around one-fifth of the population of Sweden is not ethnically Swedish. The country has been one of the most open and liberal in Europe, but a new government, elected in October 2022, said the time had come for the nation to close its borders. The conservative Sweden Democrats, which opposes mass immigration, gained a controlling stake in the coalition government for the first time.