Swedish officers killed by friendly fire: report
Published: 02 Mar 2011 07:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Mar 2011 07:32 GMT+01:00
Two Swedish officers who were shot to death in Afghanistan in February last year appear to have been killed by Swedish bullets.
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The findings come from an autopsy report as well as an internal investigation by Sweden's Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten), TV4 news reported on Tuesday.
The bullet holes in the Swedes were of a size which corresponds to the caliber of Swedish ammunition. The Afghan man who shot at the Swedes had ammunition caliber of 7.62 millimetres, while the Swedish ammunition had a caliber of 5.56 millimetres.
The autopsy report also shows that the entry wounds are higher up on the Swedes' bodies than the exit wounds.
According to the angle of the wound, the shots came from a location four metres high and thus could have been fired from a Swedish armoured vehicle standing near the side of the road when the firefight took place, according to TV4.
Swedish officers Gunnar Andersson and Johan Palmlöv, as well as their Afghan interpreter Mohammad Shahab Ayoulay were shot to death on February 7th of last year in the village of Gurgi Tappeh, about 35 kilometres from Swedish headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif.
An Afghan man dressed in a police officer's uniform opened fire on the Swedes and their interpreter. The Afghan was then killed by return fire.
In the wake of the deaths of Andersson, Palmlöv, and Ayoulay rumours began circulating that they may have been killed by friendly fire. At first, the Armed Forced dismissed the rumours, saying on March 12th of last year that there was no evidence to suggest the three had been killed by Swedish bullets.
But on March 25th, the Armed Forces admitted that they could not rule out the possibility that the officers and their interpreter had been hit by friendly fire, but that they had likely been killed by the initial shots from the Afghan man.
On July 12th, chief prosecutor Krister Petersson announced he was closing a preliminary investigation launched following the shootings. Once again, it emerged that friendly fire could not be ruled out.
Green Party spokesperson Peter Eriksson reacted strongly against the Armed Forces upon hearing the news that the officers had been killed by Swedish bullets.
"I think it's a scandal that the Riksdag and the Swedish people learned about this from the media. I think that the Riksdag should have been informed a long time ago about how things really happened," he told the TT news agency.
Eriksson was critical of Swedish military for attempted to downplay the matter.
"I demand that a full account is given to the Rikgdag about what really happened," he said.