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CRIME

Swedish safari guide held by police in Africa

The Swedish head of a safari company in the Central African Republic and ten of his staff have been arrested after 13 miners were found murdered in the northeast of the country, local police said Wednesday.

“It is certainly not a very nice situation,” the man’s wife told daily Expressen.

The Swede, a professional hunter who heads the Central African Wildlife Adventures company, and his employees “were detained this month in Bakuma and Bangassu and taken to Bangui,” police said, after the bodies of 13 miners who had been working in Ngungunza had been discovered on March 29th.

According to the man’s wife, the Swedes had nothing to do with the incident.

“In the southern part of our hunting grounds there is a place where they pan gold in a stream. We were building roads in that area, and we had some employees from central Africa working with us. They went down to the stream to fetch water and found dead people. They called my husband and asked him what to do,” the man’s wife told daily Expressen.

Her husband telephoned an Englishman who was closer to the site and asked him to go there and check what had happened. The reports were grim and the Swedes, suspecting that an atrocity had been committed, called the authorities in the nearest village.

The Swede then travelled to the site to see what could be done.

“The day after, a rumour started to flourish in the village of Bakouma, saying that we were involved in some way, that he had given the order. There was a riot and one of our trucks was set alight,” the wife told the paper.

The day after, the Swede travelled to the capital to talk to authorities. There he was arrested pending the investigation.

Photos of the dead men showed them to have been bound with their hands behind their backs and beaten or stabbed to death, police said.

“Some witness statements have directly implicated the firm,” according to police who said however it was too soon to draw conclusions.

According to the man’s wife there have been investigations.

“They have arrested the Englishman and eleven of our employees from Central Africa. But there are no official allegations or report,” she said to the paper.

The organization Human Rights Watch wrote on their website that they have documented several attacks in the region, suspected to having been carried out by The Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group, “including a massacre of 13 artisanal gold diggers in the Cawa Safari camp area around March 20”.

The group says that further investigations will be required to determine if the attack was carried out by the LRA or not, although the massacre resembled previous LRA attacks in Congo.

“The victims were beaten to death with machetes and pieces of wood. Some were tied up or stripped naked before they were killed. The LRA is the only armed group suspected to have been active in the camp area recently,” the organization wrote.

The Swedish foreign ministry has confirmed that a Swedish man is being held by local police.

“Someone from the embassy has visited the man who is reported to be feeling well under the circumstances. He has also been given a lawyer,” said Pia Roed of the embassy to the paper.

The man was born and raised in the Central African Republic, but is a Swedish citizen, as is his wife and two children.

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CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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