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Military head rejects friendly fire claims

TT/The Local/dl · 5 Mar 2011, 15:46

Published: 05 Mar 2011 15:46 GMT+01:00

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Supreme Commander Sverker Göranson wants the families of Gunnar Andersson and Johan Palmlöf to be able to see parts of the classified reports about the soldiers' deaths.

He said that Sweden's TV4 was wrong in a report earlier this week claiming that Swedish bullets had likely killed the two officers.

"The claims which TV4 has made are wrong and I can back that up. It's not possible to ascertain which caliber it was that killed the soldiers," Göransson told TV4 on Saturday, citing "the best ballistics experts" in Sweden.

The forensic investigation that has been carried out is as close to the truth as one can get, according to Görnasson.

"The best experts we have in the country have concluded that it's not possible to say with certainty which caliber killed our soldiers," he told the TT news agency.

"It's dangerous of TV4 to speculate about certain parts. You can't just read an autopsy report and make conclusions; rather, you have to put together everything in the investigation and that's what the forensic investigation has done," he said.

"My assessment is that we've come as close to the truth as we can."

The most important thing right now is to provide the dead soldiers' families with as much information as possible – a thorough description of the chain of events, according to Göransson.

But the families will likely never know with certainty if the officers were killed by Swedish bullets or not.

"If I could give them the 100 percent truth, I'd gladly do so. Nor I nor the forensic experts can do that, but we've come very close to the truth," he said.

Göransson will now allow the families to see parts of the classified report about the Swedish soldiers' deaths, according to the Expressen newspaper.

"What's come up now is more concern among the families. Does what the Armed Forces said earlier still hold? Yes, it does, I say. But because TV4 then said that I've put forward untruths, I'll take one more opportunity," Göransson told TT.

Sonny Björk, a forensic investigator who participated in the investigation, has also offered to meet with the families of Andersson and Palmlöf.

"I asked him today if would be willing to meet the families and he right away said yes. The relatives need to avoid living with these speculations that have come up," said Göransson.

Story continues below…

While Björk refused to answer questions from TT, he told Expressen that "no circumstances" support the theory that the soldiers were killed by friendly fire.

He explained that all proven science shows that bullet wounds can never be used as a basis for determining the caliber of bullet that caused the wound.

While it's nevertheless impossible to rule out that Andersson and Palmlöv were accidentally killed by fellow Swedish soldiers, the troops on the ground at the time of the incident have nothing to apologise for, according to Göransson.

"The soldiers did the right thing. They protected their own and their comrades lives with armed force. In the chaos which ensues in a battle in a very small space, it can also be a case of friendly fire, not consciously, but as a consequence of the difficult conditions," he said.

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

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Your comments about this article

19:58 March 5, 2011 by KingArthur
Its very sad, But to say it is not possible is sad as well. In war situation's things can and will happen. The truth might never come out, but what i have seen from all the reports i would conclude friendly fire as well.

Then again all the report go against each otter, maybe its better to let it rest.

two soldiers died. Let them rest in peace. (And there family's)

22:02 March 5, 2011 by Gabin
Reposez En Paix.
10:09 March 6, 2011 by tgolan
The Swedish armed forces are a "Dagis" ( children's nursery) , they couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag, Badly trained and bag rules of engagement, The whole indecent reeks of amateurism. They made every mistake that one can make , it's surprising that only 3 died. With this level of comptens Swedes should not be allowed to play with weapons of be in a war zone
13:11 March 6, 2011 by Rick Methven

Yes you can talk about being badly trained from personal experience

You should not be let anywhere near a keyboard before you have learnt to spell and write coherently.
18:30 March 6, 2011 by rmccall7
It is a sad day for the families of the dead solders. Their memories should be honored. I support the troops of my country. I think these soldiers should be supported an help the families in there time of grief. It is always sad to lose a loved one. They may have been soldiers but most of all they were someones family. An should be respected.
21:56 March 6, 2011 by DGritt
I am sure all soldiers will agree there is no such thing as friendly fire, if it was a "friendly" incident then unfortunately that can happen in conflicts, either way two young men died doing there job, it's a shame. TGOLAN you should stick to playing call of duty and not writing comments about things you know nothing about, the Swedish military do a great job and they are as highly trained as any European army
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