Deadliest Month in Sweden: 3 Casualties in Rising Gang Feud Over Illegal Trades

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Overnight, three lives were claimed in Sweden through separate incidents as a mounting feud between criminal factions fanned the flames of gun violence, transforming September into the deadliest recorded month. It is alleged that two factions are fighting for dominance over illegal drugs and firearms, leading to a steep rise in fatal gun attacks this month in the rather peaceful northern European nation known for its low crime.

Late into Wednesday evening, a young man of just eighteen years was shot and killed in a Stockholm suburb. Merely hours following this incident, another life was snuffed out and one man wounded in a separate gun attack incident in Jordbro, located in the southern section of the Swedish capital.

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Heading into the early hours of Thursday, a woman in her twenties tragically lost her life in an explosion that struck Uppsala, based on the western side of Stockholm. Following this, law enforcement started treating the incident as a murder case. Swedish news outlets postulated that the woman who met with the tragic end was in all likelihood not the intended victim, the target being the property adjacent to hers.

It is believed that at least two of these three incidents were intimately tied to the ongoing discord among criminal entities, as certain Swedish news reports indicated. The involved gang factions, one operated by a Swedish-Turkish character living in Turkiye and the other by his erstwhile subordinate, are allegedly at loggerheads over control of illegal drugs and firearms.

Sweden’s National Police Commissioner, Anders Thornberg, expressed deep concern over this escalating gang discord on Thursday, branding it as a severe menace to national safety and security. In 2022 alone, a staggering 116 Swedish lives fell to deadly violence, comprising murder, manslaughter, and lethal assault, information disclosed by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention reveals.

The recent fatalities have catapulted September’s gun violence death toll to 11, as per records of Swedish broadcaster SVT. This staggering number marks the worst single month for shootings since the initiation of these records in 2016.

Swedish Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer commented on this dismal situation Thursday on Swedish broadcaster TV4, expressing profound regret and understanding to the fear, anger, and sorrow sweeping across the populace. In response, Magdalena Andersson, the opposition Social Democrats’ leader, proposed military intervention, arguing the military could relieve the strain on law enforcement through assuming certain transport and guard duties.

Disagreeing with Andersson, Strömmer voiced the irrelevance of deploying the military. Still, he remained willing to consider various prospective strategies to curtail the violence. Several individuals are in custody on suspicion of involvement in the fatal Jordbro shooting, and two arrests were made following the startlingly potent Uppsala explosion, so forceful that it obliterated the face of two houses. The ensuing shockwave registered on seismic monitoring equipment as far as 20 kilometres (or 12 miles) away, reports the TT news agency.

Senior Uppsala police official Catarina Bowall asserted the victims’ unlikeliness to have any associations with the national conflict. Local police chief Ulf Johansson described the event as one of the area’s worst explosions, noting that Uppsala, situated roughly 60 kilometres (or 37 miles) north of Stockholm, has been the backdrop to many a feud-related shooting and explosion.

Earlier this week, central Sweden was rocked by two significant blasts, resulting in harm to at least three individuals and considerable property damage. The centre-right ruling faction has been steadily tightening laws to combat gang-related crime in the wake of this unprecedented surge in violence, even as the head of Sweden’s law enforcement warns of the wave triggered by the gang vendettas.