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Swedish officers killed by friendly fire: report

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.

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.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:43 March 2, 2011 by eppie
I don't think this news makes it any easier for the relatives of the deceased soldiers. But it is of course important that the truth comes out.
10:15 March 2, 2011 by N0DE
It is common in Afghanistan that soldiers sell their weapons to Talibans and local commanders. This might be one such case when some soldier sold his ammunation + gun to Taliban for Cannibas or similar drug. Afterall they are human
13:48 March 2, 2011 by Åskar
It isn't the first time something like this has happened and it will not be the last time. Nobody with a sane mind can think that this is anything else than a tragic accident and as for Peter Eriksson, he's an attention whore.
15:00 March 2, 2011 by RobinHood
Gunnar Andersson and Johan Palmlöv deserve better than the likes of Green Party spokesman Peter Eriksson playing politics over their tragic deaths.

As Åskar wrote, blue on blue accidents happen during firefights, and always will. If anything can make things worse for the victims' families, it is the thought their loved ones were killed by their own side.

These incidents are traditionally, and quite rightly, handled with extreme sensitivity. To someone as ignorant as Peter Eriksson it may seem to be "an attempt to downplay the matter". It is not, it is an attempt to honour the memory, of Gunnar Andersson and Johan Palmlöv, to protect their families (who have certainly been fully informed about what happened - probably by Gunnar and Johan's friend who were there at the time), and perhaps save the sanity of the Swedish soldier who did actually fire the fatal shots.

Peter Eriksson is unfit even to utter the names of Gunnar Andersson and Johan Palmlöv, and should be reminded about protecting the dignity of those who fought and died for their country.
15:31 March 2, 2011 by Orangemen
But Sweden is a peaceful country. Sweden only invades, occupies and murders people in a country that has never attacked them. Now they go the extent of shooting their misguided soldiers in the back. At least Sweden is no longer a covert war enabler/warmonger
15:50 March 2, 2011 by star10
@RobinHood: Peter Eriksson could be some opportunist politician. But that doesn't justify hiding the truth from the families. The families more than anything want to know how their beloved ones died. They want to have confidence in the Armed Forces that they won't be lied. It might be an unfortunate incidence of war for which nobody (including the shooters) can be blamed. But the families need to hear not from "friend who were there at the time". To know the truth, should the families who lost their beloved ones wonder looking for "friend who were there at the time"? They put their faith in the leadership of the Armed Forces when they sent their beloved ones. They should be able to put thier faith to hear the truth from the Armed Forces leadership. It is indeed a scandal for the Armed Forces to hide the truth from the families and let them wonder looking for the truth.
16:38 March 2, 2011 by SarahPalin
@Orangemen, let me guess... you're feeling butthurt that a bunch of your taliban friends were taken out while planning their next terrorist activity?
17:25 March 2, 2011 by RobinHood
@Star10

My post made it very clear the families have probably been fully informed. That is the way thing are done in the militiary, both formally and informally. Just because the circumstances of Gunnar Andersson and Johan Palmlöv's accidental deaths have not been published for your own titilation, does not mean the matter has not been handled properly, truthfully, and with the appropriate dignity.

Peter Eriksson, the Green Party, and you, should leave them in peace now.
02:30 March 3, 2011 by stablemate
yes the acts of war....come even to germany airport 2 us soilders killed by extreme religon....and sweden is part of nations that try to keep peace
04:43 March 3, 2011 by Carbarrister
Gunnar Andersson and Johan Palmlöv deserve to be treated with dignity.

Semper Fi
08:03 March 3, 2011 by Zhorka
#9

Sweden is part of nations that try to keep peace? That's what your politicians tell you. In fact, sweden is part of nations that make war.
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