Posted on November 21, 2023

Sweden’s Out-Of-Control Gang Wars

AFP, November 17, 2023

Execution-style shootings carried out by “child soldiers”, apartment buildings rocked by bombings, innocent relatives targeted in vendettas, and the morning news summarising the night’s death toll — all have become disturbingly routine in the normally quiet country.

“No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this,” said Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson as he vowed to defeat the gangs.

“Swedish legislation was not designed for gang wars and child soldiers. But we’re changing that now,” he said.

Sweden’s gang wars have smouldered for a decade over control of the drugs market.

But they took a drastic turn early this year when an internal feud led to gang members’ families and loved ones also becoming targets.

The September 13 shooting in Cervin’s building in Uppsala, 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of Stockholm, was aimed at the mother-in-law of Rawa Majid, the “Kurdish Fox”, and head of the notorious Foxtrot gang.

She escaped unharmed.


Criminology professor Felipe Estrada Dorner of Stockholm University told AFP the situation “has gotten totally out of control: they’ve started attacking loved ones and those who have nothing to do with these conflicts.”

“This is a big change from the violence that has prevailed until now.”

Forty-seven people have been killed in 314 shootings so far this year, police said, compared to only seven deaths in 2016.


The victims and the perpetrators are increasingly young.

Police last year investigated 336 15- to 17-year-olds for having illegal firearms, eight times more than a decade ago, the National Council for Crime Prevention said this month.

Gangs now recruit kids to carry out contract killings — some younger than 15 — knowing they can’t be jailed.

“Children are contacting criminal gangs” offering to commit murders, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said.


Prime Minister Kristersson has blamed the rise in organised crime on “naivety” over immigration.

“An irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration led us here,” the conservative leader said.