The officer will leave his command post when a replacement has been chosen and can take over the officer’s responsibilities.
“I want to stress that what he’s being criticized for happened in 2003. But he hasn’t been accused of any crime and he is a very competent and respected officer who enjoys my full confidence,” said Swedish Armed Forces’ Head of Operations Anders Lindström to news agency TT.
“Several media reports today said that he was head of Swedish special forces in Chad. That information is inaccurate. The special forces unit there is led by an Irish general with support from a multinational command,” said Lindström
The decision to call the officer home was taken despite him having the confidence of both Lindström and the Supreme Commander of the Swedish military, Håkan Syrén.
According to Lindström, the relieving of the officer’s duties in Chad should be seen against the background of an investigation now underway into the management of Sweden’s special forces in the wake of the Congo torture allegations from 2003.
“What we have said is that it seems more appropriate to do things this way,” said Lindström.
The officer is one of the Swedish military’s most experienced soldiers when it comes to international missions.
He’s led forces in Afghanistan in 2002 and one year later was the highest ranking Swedish officer in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He recently returned to Africa as part of a Swedish special forces unit deployed to Chad.’
Back in the Congo in 2003, French soldiers are said to have tortured a young Congolese man at the Swedish-French camp of Chem chem.
According to the Svergies Television investigative news program Uppdrag Granskning, Swedish soldiers tried in vain to get their commander to stop the torture.
The officer is also accused of having suppressed a report from one of the soldiers under his command.