Outcry in Sweden after father gunned down by youth gang

Outcry in Sweden after father gunned down by youth gang
Outcry in Sweden after father gunned down by youth gang

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson at a makeshift memorial near the centre of Skaerholmen, where a father was shot dead in an underpass. — AFP pic

STOCKHOLM, April 12 — Swedes reacted with shock and anger yesterday after a father was gunned down in broad daylight in front of his son in a Stockholm suburb, amid media reports he confronted a gang of youths.

The Scandinavian country has seen a surge in violence in recent years as criminal gangs feud for control of drug markets, with bombings and shootings recorded weekly.

The gangs often recruit young teens to carry out the violence because they are not criminally liable, with some perpetrators as young as 12 years old.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and opposition leader Magdalena Andersson were both to visit the Skarholmen suburb south of the capital on Thursday evening.

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The area has seen several shootings in recent months.

“The system-threatening crime that our country is now experiencing has brutal consequences for our entire free and open society,” Kristersson wrote in a post on Instagram on Thursday.

“People with violent intent should not be allowed to intimidate honest citizens into silence.”

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“The gangs, with their utter ruthlessness, will not stop until we have stopped them,” he said.

The head of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Akesson, said it was “not enough to belch out platitudes, it is time for Sweden to declare full-scale war against every individual in these criminal gangs”.

The 39-year-old father, identified in media reports only as Mikael, was shot in the head in front of his son early Wednesday evening as they cycled to a swimming pool.

He died early Thursday, according to police.

Several media outlets, including television chain TV4 and tabloids Expressen and Aftonbladet, said he was shot because he confronted the gang.

Police have not confirmed those reports.

“He didn’t like injustice. It cost him his life,” his sister, who didn’t give her name, told Expressen.

“He was sensitive, he didn’t like to read about all the shootings,” she said.

No arrests have been made in connection with the killing.

According to police statistics, 363 shootings were reported last year with 53 fatalities, while a total of 149 bombings were recorded.

Kicki, who has lived in Skarholmen for more than 25 years, told news agency TT she’s afraid to go out after dark now. “It’s so sad. You get scared, you just want to stay indoors. You don’t dare go out.”

Wednesday’s shooting came as Sweden’s parliament adopted a new law giving police powers to establish zones where they can search people or their vehicles even if they are not suspected of specific crimes.

The new law will go into force on April 25.

The proposal has been controversial, with critics saying it runs counter to the rule of law and could lead to discrimination. — AFP

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