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Fires hit pro-Eritrea groups in Stockholm

26 Feb 2013, 07:06

Published: 26 Feb 2013 07:06 GMT+01:00

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All the fires broke out within hours of one another, with emergency services first getting a call shortly after 1am about a fire in Högdalen south of Stockholm.

A second fire was reported in Solna, just north of the city, around 2.30am, followed thirty minutes later by reports of a third fire in Husby, also north of central Stockholm.

More than 50 people were evacuated from their homes as a result of the fires, which were eventually brought under control thanks to the efforts of dozens of firefighters.

The fires all erupted in offices housing organizations that support the regime in Eritrea, the TT news agency reported, although no representatives from the organizations were willing to be quoted by name about the incidents.

However, one person active in the Husby-based organization who wished to remain anonymous due to fears of reprisals said he was "100 percent certain" the fires were "political".

"It's those damn traitors who are behind this," he told TT, referring to Eritrean-Swedes who "hate their country" and often demonstrate against events organized in support of the current Eritrean regime.

Tensions have been running high between groups loyal to the Eritrean government and those critical of the regime of Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki.

When pro-regime actions are held in Sweden, opposition groups often stage counter-demonstrations, according to TT.

Regime critics in turn often blame the Eritrean authorities for engaging in threats and blackmail in order to squeeze tax money from Eritreans in exile.

Preliminary investigations into arson have been opened for all three fires, with police confirming that the Husby and Högdalen blazes were intentionally set, while forensic teams continue to investigate the scene of the fire in Solna.

However, police have refrained from confirming that the fires are connected.

"In Högdalen, the fire broke out in a building that houses an Eritrean organization, as well as several other companies. As far as I know, there is no connection to the fire in a laundry room in Husby. We're obviously looking into any connection, but for the moment we don't see one," police spokesman Mats Eriksson told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Swedish-Eritrean MP Arhe Hamednaca, who is critical of the authoritarian regime in Eritrea, told TT he doesn't think the Eritrean democratic opposition is responsible.

"It could be a group siding with the government that wants to drag the opposition through the mud; they're known for doing that," he told TT.

Story continues below…

He explained that supporters of the regime are desperate following an uprising among troops in Eritrea that took place about a month ago as well as recent reports in the Swedish media about how the regime has been threatening Eritreans in Sweden.

Last week, three people were arrested in Stockholm on suspicion of blackmail and conspiring to commit murder in a case believed to be connected to the Eritrean regime's systematic oppression of Eritreans living in exile.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

07:45 February 26, 2013 by merhawie
First they came for the communists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.
09:30 February 26, 2013 by Gardian
I am calling for an immediate deportation for all the Eritrean who participated in this unacceptable violence. We welcome you as refugee you get you rights in this country , but what we are getting in return is fires in our city.

welcome SD to clean up the country !
10:09 February 26, 2013 by robban70226
The best that could happens to Sweden is that the exterminate each other and clean this country of useless leaches living from the hard worked tax people, See this as a natural evolution and balance of control.
10:17 February 26, 2013 by TG22
Well done Sweden...
10:48 February 26, 2013 by Scepticion
So, presumably people from Eritrea are here because they got asylum. So, why are people and organizations here that support the present government? Why don't they go back? Presumably they came in the wake of the independence war, and the later war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, while others persecuted by their own government came later. Obviously providing asylum to waring factions in the same country is only a recipe for disaster.
11:37 February 26, 2013 by TG22
" Why don't they go back?" - The is not dole in there...
13:52 February 26, 2013 by dott
Yet another benefit of multculti.
15:32 February 26, 2013 by AntiL
And what shall we do with those neo-nazis setting in fire locales of left wing groups? Where do you all plan to send them? Nuremberg?
03:18 February 27, 2013 by Enjoyourlife
The should deport all those pro-regime. 99% of Eriteans are asylum seekers and i do not understand why supporting the regime from Sweden. Go home and give your support. Most africans travel abroad for economic reasons and are critical of their corrupt leaders. It is strange how assylum seekers are supporting their regime.
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