Congo Watch: Swedish soldiers to join EU Congo force

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Swedish soldiers to join EU Congo force

April 9 Xinhua -- Sweden is to send 40 to 50 soldiers to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which will be part of an EU mission to provide security during the summer election in the troubled central African country, local media reported on Sunday.

Defense minister Leni Bjoerklund told Social Democrats on Saturday that the government would put the proposal for the Swedish contribution before parliament soon, according to Swedish news agency TT.

The EU force of around 1,000 soldiers from ten countries will support 17,000 UN peacekeeping troops. Eight UN soldiers have lost their lives in the country.

The election in the DR Congo will be the first since 1961. It was scheduled for June 18th but has been postponed until July due to security fears.

The exact task of Swedish soldiers from the elite Special Protection Group (SSG) in DR Congo is still not clear, the report said.

The SSG, which reports directly to the Commander-in-Chief of the Swedish armed forces, is trained for battle, personal protection, intelligence gathering and a range of other combat duties.

Sweden's contribution will cost a maximum of 60 million kronor (about 7.7 million U.S. dollars), according to the report.


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