Friday, September 29, 2023

Sweden: Three dead in one night Sweden: Three dead in one night Article by By Alex Rühle, Stockholm • 3 hours. In the middle of the night, an explosive device exploded in a suburb of Uppsala that was so powerful that two houses were completely destroyed. A young woman died. Here is a police officer at the crime scene. The gang war on Sweden's streets is escalating. The mastermind of the violence is based in Turkey and sends his orders from there. Now the Prime Minister wants to involve the military to fight criminals. Three deaths in one night Wednesday evening at 6.45 p.m., in Mälarhojden, a quiet suburb in the south of Stockholm. Several youth teams were training on the extensive sports complex when fire was opened from a passing Toyota; an 18-year-old died. At midnight, an 18-year-old was killed in a shooting in the suburb of Jordbro and two men were injured. At four in the morning, an explosive device exploded in a suburb of Uppsala that was so powerful that two houses were completely destroyed. A young woman died. In Sweden, the news about shootings, deaths and other gang violence forms such a constant background noise that, like tinnitus, you eventually tune it out. But three deaths in one night, plus the images of devastation from Uppsala that are more reminiscent of civil war scenes than of rival drug clans - "The last 24 hours exceed the worst that can be imagined in a decent society," said Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer on Thursday morning. In the evening, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced that he would now involve the military to fight the gangs. Young people offer their services as murderers The reason for the violent escalation is a three-front war between rival drug gangs, at the center of which is Rawa Majid, who is now better known in Sweden than any pop star under his self-chosen nickname "Kurdish Fox". The comparison may sound cynical, but a police officer from Järva said on television on Thursday that he knew of many children and young people who offered their services to the gangs as murderers; after all, such an attack would enormously strengthen the status within these groups. Majid was involved in drug trafficking in Uppsala. After a long prison sentence, he disappeared from Sweden in 2018, first to Iraq and later to Turkey, where he posed as a shipowner and thus acquired Turkish citizenship. Since then, he has been supposed to give his murderous instructions from there or send out entire death lists. Turkey refuses to extradite him, even though he is now wanted by Interpol. On the one hand, the attacks are about the usual distribution battles between drug cartels, but on the other hand, an internal revenge dynamic seems to be escalating further and further: Ismail Abdo, one of his former cronies, has separated from Majid's so-called "Foxtrot" association and founded his own gang. At the beginning of September, Abdo's mother was shot. Shortly afterwards, a house in Stenhagen, near which Majid's mother-in-law lives, was shot at. Apparently the attackers had the wrong address, which is typical. According to the daily Dagens Nyheter, well over 100 outsiders have been affected by the violence this year alone, whether their house facades were shot at or pelted with explosives, or whether they were accidentally injured or killed in shootings. The 25-year-old who died in Uppsala probably had nothing to do with the gangs. Eleven people died in September alone, including a 13-year-old boy. Anders Thornberg, head of the Swedish police, spoke of 13 and 14 year olds being specifically sent out on murder assignments because they are not yet of criminal responsibility. Magnus Jacobsson, who sits in the Reichstag for the Christian Democrats, tweeted on Thursday afternoon: "Perhaps it is time for those of us on the right side of politics to apologize for the rhetoric we have used in the past , and humbly invite all parties, authorities, affected communities and researchers to a humble conversation about what we can do together to stop the killing." Jacobsson was referring to the conservative parties' years of blaming the Social Democrats, which amounts to the fact that they looked the other way for too long and that this was how the gangs were able to gain their power. A Stockholm police officer summed up the sentiment of many Swedes well in his reply tweet: "This is absolutely the right approach. I find it so terribly tiring with the senseless accusations about who is politically to blame that both sides are making. Please concentrate on Solutions!" The police union also repeatedly called on the parties to finally stop taking their positions.