Agency says tower problems 'not connected'
Rumours have been circulating about a co-ordinated attack after two transmitter towers were recently sabotaged, but the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) says there are no indications the incidents were linked to each other.
“Our assessment is that there were different types of reasons behind the different events and that they happened to take place at the same time,” Svante Werger, communications director at MSB, told Swedish Radio News.
As well as the two cases of suspected sabotage against transmitter towers in western Sweden, there have also been other recent incidents involving communications. On Thursday flights were temporarily grounded at several Swedish airports following a radar-system failure, and there have been disturbances to the SOS Alarm emergency services, to the SJ train-ticket booking service, and to Swedish Radio’s transmissions in Gothenburg. These incidents have sparked speculations about co-ordinated attacks led by another country or a criminal group.
The terrorism expert Hans Brun had even told Swedish Radio's local channel in Sjuhärad that Russia would be the only country with an interest in causing the disruptions.
That theory was later ridiculed by the Russian embassy, which wrote, “We are convinced that every Swede with common sense will only smile as they imagine Russian agents preparing for war by removing bolts from a TV mast in remote Swedish territory.”
According to MSB there is nothing to suggest the incidents are connected, and Svante Werger called on the public to avoid speculation.
“There’s a risk that speculations and rumours become part of the problem. There’s a risk of a crying-wolf behaviour,” Werger said.
As several of the incidents took place in the Västra Götaland region, the county administrative board arranged a conference today with all municipalities in the region taking part as well as participants from MSB and the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO).
The flight-radar loss on Thursday is thought to have been caused by maintenance failure by the network operator Telia, reports the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. The Swedish Civil Aviation Administration told Dagens Nyheter that Telia's maintenance work is the main reason behind the error, but it said further investigation is required.