Sweden is considering the deployment of its armed forces to combat the increasing danger posed by organized crime gangs wreaking havoc on city streets.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson addressed the nation on Thursday evening after the Scandinavian country was rocked by a deadly wave of shootings and explosions linked to a split in the notorious Foxtrot criminal network.
“I have summoned the head of the national police (Anders Thornberg) and Commander-in-Chief (Micael Bydén) for a meeting,” the Swedish prime minister told viewers in a seven-minute-long speech, announcing that emergency talks will take place on Friday.
“Now, more and more children and completely innocent people are affected by the gross violence. I cannot emphasize enough how serious the situation is. Sweden has never seen anything like this before. No other country in Europe has seen anything like this,” he added.
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The Swedish government vowed to deploy all resources necessary to crack down on criminal gangs that have taken control of many parts of the country’s major cities, particularly Stockholm, and suggested that the military could be deployed “to see how the Armed Forces can help the police in their work against the criminal gangs.”
Kristersson blamed “political naivety” and “unsuccessful integration” as the main reasons for the ongoing crisis, highlighting the role that mass immigration has played in the rise of criminal gangs in Sweden’s inner cities.
This issue was also touched upon by former Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson before she lost power last year; she claimed that there are now “parallel societies in Sweden” and declared multiculturalism a failure.
“We live in the same country, but in completely different realities,” she said, referencing “no-go” areas in some migrant-heavy Swedish neighborhoods where authorities are afraid to go.
In his speech on Thursday, Kristersson claimed that Swedish laws were not built for “gang crime and child soldiers,” which is sadly an increasing problem, with the latest data revealing that as many as 15 percent of gang members in Sweden are under 18.
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In the past 24 hours alone, an 18-year-old man was shot dead on a sports field in southern Stockholm, footage of which was shared on social media, and two men were shot leaving one dead in the capital’s Jordbro, Stockholm County. “I was lying in bed and had the window open when I heard 15-20 shots. It was just ‘boom boom boom boom,’ one resident told the Aftonbladet newspaper regarding the double shooting in Jordbro.
A 25-year-old woman with no gang affiliation also died in an explosion in Uppsala, about an hour’s drive north of the Swedish capital; police believe this bomb attack was targeting a neighboring property that belongs to 37-year-old Rawa Majid, known as the Kurdish Fox and who is reportedly engrossed in a power struggle for control of the Foxtrot criminal gang with another fledgling member nicknamed “Jordgubben.”
A total of 11 people have now been murdered in separate shootings in September alone, surpassing the record number of firearm homicides in Sweden since records began in 2016.
Jordgubben’s 60-year-old mother is understood to have been one of the victims this month after being shot to death in Gränby, Uppsala, on Sept. 7. Two teenagers, aged 15 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of murder following the attack.
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Other victims include a 13-year-old found shot in the head in a wooded area in Haninge, Stockholm, on Sept. 11; two other teenagers shot several times in separate attacks in the Swedish capital on Sept. 13 and 14; and a 71-year-old man and a man in his 20s who died following a mass shooting at a pub in central Sandviken which left four injured.
A total of 391 shootings were reported in Sweden last year, of which a record 62 were fatal, surpassing the 45 firearm fatalities recorded the previous year.