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Swedish university shut after anonymous threat

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Swedish university shut after anonymous threat
Lund university in southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX
07:02 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: Lund university in southern Sweden cancelled all classes on Monday, while police urgently investigated an anonymous threat posted via a social media app over the weekend.

Lund, which is Sweden's second largest university, said it would close following the threat, which has raised fears of a mass shooting.

"Due to an anonymous threat to the university and its students via the app Jodel and which the police takes very seriously, the university will be closed on Monday for all students and staff at all campuses," Lund University said on its website.

"Don't go to the University tomorrow if you are in Lund. Check the news tomorrow morning," read the anonymous post, published via popular campus app Jodel.

The text drew parallels with a message released on the Internet forum 4chan before the October 1 shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg in the US state of Oregon, when a 26-year-old man killed nine people before committing suicide. Investigators have not however confirmed that the author of the message and the killer were the same person.

Swedish police launched an investigation into the ominous message after several concerned students got in touch on Sunday, but were unable to say whether or not it was a serious threat.

"We see no direct threat (...) We haven't had any indications that anything concrete is going to happen," police press spokesperson Kim Hild told the TT newswire late on Sunday.   

But the rector of Lund University, Torbjörn von Schantz, said he had felt no hesitation about cancelling all classes.

"Security must come before everything else," he told TT news agency.

Economics student Annette Schönbeck is one of those who had read the Jodel post in Lund on Sunday, which was later deleted.

"It is nasty, because things like that have happened in the US and in Finland. It could be a joke. But you don't know. And there are maybe people who aren't completely sane," she told regional newspaper Sydsvenskan.

The Jodel app is an online community which allows users to post anonymous messages which others, within a radius of seven kilometres, can read via a live feed. Created by German company TellM, it is geared towards students and campus life.

"We are aware of the incident in Lund and take this very seriously. We're cooperating with the police and are doing everything we can to solve this," wrote its founder and chief executive, Alessio Avellan Borgmeyer, in an email to Sydsvenskan.

Lund university was founded in 1666. It is attended by some 42,000 students from Sweden and the rest of the world and employs around 7,500 staff at its campuses in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö.

Threats like this are rare in Sweden. The last similar incident took place in 2013, when the Rudbeck school in Örebro received a warning about a massacre. Police investigated at the time, but the school remained open.

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