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'Pretend order' led to conscript's death

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'Pretend order' led to conscript's death
08:27 CEST+02:00
A platoon commander who gave the order that led to a Swedish conscript being killed in a military exercise in the Stockholm archipelago in May has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Armed Forces.

The commander explained that he had given a “pretend order” that was not intended to be obeyed, Svenska Dagbladet reports.

The conscripts involved in the exercise followed the order and sailed straight into a hail of bullets.

One of the bullets hit the victim’s abdomen and exited close to his shoulderblade.

The conscript was serving with the 1st Marine Regiment in Berga. He was shot during an exercise on the island of Utö.

The injured man was taken to the Karolinska University Hospital by helicopter, where he was pronounced dead.

During the exercise a company from the Marine Regiment was tasked with securing a bay on the island of Skogsskär east of Utö.

While soldiers shot at the island, all patrol boats were issued directives not to cross a designated security line.

But when the platoon commander issued an order for the boats to enter the risk zone, the conscripts obeyed the order and relayed their intentions over the radio.

The platoon commander explained to investigators that he had not intended for the conscripts to obey the order. It was a “pretend order,” he said, and neither he nor the leader of the exercise thought it necessary to track the boats’ movements.

Armed Forces investigator Klas Eksell said that a “misunderstanding arose between the pretend and real orders that were issued to the commanders of the patrol boats,” according to military newspaper Värnpliktsnytt.

“The boat commanders did not sufficiently understand that both of these elements would take place – that is to say, pretend and real orders,” said Eksell.

But according to the newspaper, neither the commanders not the conscripts had been informed of any “pretend orders”.

Patrol boat operators and commanders from the Marine Regiment said they had never heard the term before.

Armed Forces security chief Anders Emanuelsson said he had never come across a situation in which simulated operations were combined with live fire.

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