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    Sweden ready to send in army as child killers and gang violence rock country

    Police arrived on the scene after a man was shot dead and another person was wounded in Jordbro, south of Stockholm, early Thursday morning Photo: Nils Petter Nilsson/TT/TT News Agency

    Sweden is preparing to deploy its armed forces to combat a wave of gang violence sweeping the country after three people were killed in 24 hours.

    Cooperation may include the provision of military equipment, logistical and forensic support, or the exchange of experience in bomb disposal.

    On Friday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Sweden faced an “extremely exceptional situation” and that “police cannot do everything.”

    Mr Kristersson vowed to end the surge in violence and defeat gangs with the country's armed forces.

    “We're going to hunt down the gangs. We are going to defeat the gangs,” he said in a televised address to the nation.

    Swedish gangs are hiring child killers, police chief says.

    “The criminals are ruthless,” Anders Thornberg told reporters, adding that the gangs also contacted people, often children, and “supplied them with weapons and gave them an address to organize an attack at.”

    He added. that children even contacted gangs themselves, offering their services as hired killers.

    Mats Lindstrom, a senior police officer, said he had seen many reports from children contacting gangs about contract killings as violence has escalated recently, fueled in part by internal fighting within a leading gang.

    Ten years ago Sweden was among the ten safest countries in the world, but now the country has dropped to 28th place.

    Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson said Sweden was facing a “very exceptional situation”. Photo: ANDERS WICLUND/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

    Swedish public broadcaster SVT tallies that shootings and bombings killed 11 people in September, the country's deadliest month in four years.

    Two people died in separate shootings. in Stockholm on Wednesday, and a woman in her 20s, believed to be an innocent bystander, was killed when a bomb destroyed a house in Uppsala early on Thursday.

    Last week, a man in his 70s died after wounded by a stray bullet near a bar. A total of seven innocent bystanders have been killed in the past 12 months.

    “An increasing number of children and completely innocent people are suffering from this extreme violence,” Mr Kristersson said.

    He added that the country's laws were not designed to deal with “child soldiers” – boys 13 -14 years who are recruited as hitmen.

    “Sweden has never seen anything like this”

    Sweden had 69 people under the age of 18 in custody in August 2023, up from 14 in the same month two years earlier.

    Police estimate that about 30,000 people in Sweden are directly connected or have connections. to group crime. Violence has also spread from large urban areas to smaller towns where violent crime had previously been rare.

    “Sweden has never seen anything like it. No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this,” Mr Kristersson said.

    Mr Kristersson formed a centre-right minority government after last year's elections with the support of the populist and anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, ending eight years of socialist rule. -Democrats in Sweden.

    His coalition won elections on a promise to combat rising gang violence and launched a number of initiatives, such as expanding police powers and tougher penalties for gun crimes.

    The measures have not yet come into force, but Mr Kristersson blamed previous governments for the problems.

    “It was irresponsible immigration policies and failed integration that brought us here,” he said.

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