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Swedish police chief warns of 'unprecedented' wave of gang killings

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Swedish police chief warns of 'unprecedented' wave of gang killings
Swedish police chief Anders Thornberg. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Gang wars are causing an "unprecedented" wave of violence in Sweden, said national police chief Anders Thornberg at a press conference held after a spate of fatal shootings in the past couple of weeks.

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In recent years, Sweden has seen gangs fighting over arms and drug trafficking, involving firearms and explosive devices.

"There have recently been murders and explosions on an unprecedented scale," police chief Anders Thornberg told a press conference.

"Several boys aged between 13 and 15 have been killed, the mother of a criminal was executed at home, and a young man in Uppsala was shot dead on his way to work", he added.

The police chief emphasised that the orders often came from high-level gang criminals based abroad, without mentioning any nationalities.

There have been several shootings in Sweden this week: four in the university city of Uppsala – two of them fatal – and two in Stockholm, where a 13-year-old teenager lost his life.

Last year, 90 explosions and 101 attempted explosive attacks were recorded, according to data from the Swedish police.

So far this year over 100 explosions have already been recorded.

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The conflicts between these criminal gangs are costing innocent lives, said Thornberg.

"Citizens are afraid, insecurity is increasing. And this at a time when we have raised our terrorist alert level in the country."

Several gang crimes have been foiled in recent days, he added, stressing the importance of preventive work.

"Several people have been arrested and weapons confiscated in Uppsala alone, where the situation is very serious," added Ulf Johansson, a police officer in the Uppsala region, which is 70 kilometres north of Stockholm.

In 2022, there were 391 shootings in Sweden, 62 of which were fatal, compared to 45 people killed by gunfire the previous year.

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Mansur 2023/09/14 10:01
This is terrible, so many innocent lives lost or affected. Something perplexing are the reasons - the fighting is over arms and drugs? Sweden is a small country. From an economic perspective, why would gangs operate in such a tiny market? Surely, for organized crime bosses, there are other places in the world that would be more lucrative with fewer legal impediments? Something seems off - maybe some good, old investigative journalism might provide clearer answers?
  • Anonymous 2023/09/14 11:35
    Hej, this interview with crime reporter Diamant Salihu may help shed some light on the problem: https://www.thelocal.se/20230207/bonus-episode-how-can-sweden-put-a-stop-to-fatal-gang-shootings-part-2 Kind regards, Emma

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