Thursday, June 20, 2024

World

Swedish PM summons army chief amid surge in gang violence

IANS | September 29, 2023 11:31 AM

STOCKHOLM: Amid a spike in the number of gang killings across Sweden, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has summoned the Army chief to help curb the violence.

In a televised address to the nation on Thursday, he said Sweden had not seen anything like it before and that "no other country in Europe" was experiencing this kind of situation, reports the BBC.

So far this month, 12 people have been killed in gang violence -- the highest number since December 2019, according to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Army chief Micael Byden and the Prime Minister are scheduled to meet the country's police chief on Friday to discuss what role the military could play to curb the violence.

The Prime Minister's announcement came after about 12 hours during which two men were shot dead in Stockholm and a 25-year-old woman killed in a blast at home in a town north of the capital.

"We will hunt the gangs down and we will defeat them, " the BBC quoted Kristerssonas saying in his address, stressing that children and innocent bystanders were increasingly being caught up in the nationwide violence .

An overnight explosion in Fullero, some 80 km north of Stockholm, killed the woman thought to be a neighbour of a person with connections to organised crime.

She went to sleep "on a completely ordinary evening but never got to wake up", the Prime Minister said.

A few hours earlier, a man in his 20s was killed in shooting in Jordbro, just south of the capital, according to public broadcaster SVT.

An 18-year-old boy was shot dead at around 7 p.m. near a Stockholm sports ground that was full of people, SVT reported.

Also in his address, Kristersson said that he would push ahead with more surveillance, harsher penalties for breaking gun laws, stronger deportation powers and stop and search zones, adding he had been learning from the mayor of New York after a visit to the city last week, reports the BBC

"Everything is on the table, " the prime minister said.

Last year, more than 60 people died in shootings in Sweden -- the highest on record.

An official government report published in 2021 stated that four in every million inhabitants were dying in shootings each year in Sweden -- compared with 1.6 people per million across Europe.

Swedish media has linked the killing involving a gang known as the Foxtrot network, which has been rocked by infighting and split into two rival factions.

Have something to say? Post your comment