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Sweden is Suffering a Grim Wave of Gang Violence

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The country has Scandinavia’s highest rate of shootings and bombings

On october 15th thousands of followers of 5iftyy, a Swedish rapper, tuned into his Instagram channel for what he said would be an important livestream. They found themselves watching a bearded man brandish a gold-plated ak-47 while hurling insults at rival gang members, backed by three rifle-toting thugs in balaclavas. The man with the golden gun was Mustafa “Benzema” Aljiburi, a leading member of a Swedish narcotics network known as Foxtrot. Mr Aljiburi is believed to be living in Iraq. He staged the appearance to dispel rumours of his death and to threaten various enemies, including a Swedish prosecutor.

The livestream looked ridiculous, but the threats were serious. For years Sweden has suffered from high rates of gang-related violence, but for the past two years it has been relentless. In the first ten months of the year there were 324 shootings in Sweden, 48 of them fatal. The rate of gun crime is several times higher than that in neighbouring countries. Gangs have taken to attacking the homes of rivals with hand grenades and dynamite; there have been 139 explosions this year. The government is frantically toughening laws and raising its law-enforcement budget, but it is behind the curve. “We should have seen this coming and taken these measures at least ten years ago,” says Daniel Bergstrom, an adviser to Sweden’s justice minister.

Source : Economist

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