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Inside Sweden For Members

Inside Sweden: More podcasts, escalating gang violence and royal stories

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
Inside Sweden: More podcasts, escalating gang violence and royal stories
King Carl XVI Gustaf on the day of his 50th jubilee. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

The Local's editor Emma Löfgren writes about some of the stories we've been covering this week in our Inside Sweden newsletter.

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Hej,

The Local’s Sweden in Focus podcast is growing in popularity and we’re now considering expanding our podcast offering in response to feedback from readers and listeners.

It will depend on how many people are interested in more podcasts, and on whether or not we have the resources to actually record them, so if you have time to fill out this survey it would be so helpful to us.

If you've already filled out the survey, thank you. I’m slightly overwhelmed by how many people are using this survey to leave extremely kind and thorough feedback on the Sweden in Focus podcast and The Local. We'll feed it back into our editorial decisions, so it's very useful.

Gang conflict rocks Sweden

A gang conflict sparked a wave of violence in the university town of Uppsala and capital Stockholm this and last week, with six fatal shootings at the time of writing this newsletter on Friday afternoon.

According to reports in Swedish media, at least most of the recent incidents seem to be linked to a conflict between the leader of the so-called Foxtrot gang and one of its members after a falling out.

Sweden’s national police chief Anders Thornberg called the shootings “unprecedented” in that they seem to actively target the relatives of gang criminals, even if the victims have no criminal history themselves.

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First, the mother of one of the gang leaders was murdered in an apparent revenge shooting after an attack on Foxtrot leader Rawa Majid, also known as “the Kurdish fox”, at his hideout in Istanbul, Turkey.

A 13-year-old boy was found shot dead, his body dumped in the forest.

A 25-year-old man who worked in the elderly care sector and had moved to Uppsala to study law, was gunned down outside his home when shooters mistook him for the relative of a gang member.

And the mother-in-law of Majid told Expressen she lives in fear after shots were fired at a building near her home. Police believe the shots were meant for her, but the shooters got the wrong address.

“I’ve been jumpy and terrified. My god! I had my son at home and I was on my way to my night job. It was expected, sure, but I have nothing to do with the conflict,” she told Expressen.

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Police have made a series of arrests in connection with the shootings, but the violence could also have consequences for the rather strained diplomatic ties between Sweden and Turkey.

Majid, who is also suspected of being Sweden’s biggest drug trafficker, was briefly arrested in Turkey in spring, then released. When a Swedish prosecutor tried to get him extradited, Turkey said no on the grounds that he had been given Turkish citizenship and as such could not be extradited.

What’s more, Aftonbladet revealed on Friday that a confidential intelligence report which Sweden had handed to Turkey to help them arrest Majid had been leaked to people in the Foxtrot network.

So even if Swedish police manage to crack down on this recent violence, it won’t be over yet.

I’ve received questions from readers about what Sweden could do to combat gang violence, so I wanted to share this article by my colleague Richard from this summer, which looks at exactly that.

King celebrates 50th anniversary

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden celebrated his 50th jubilee this week (spare a thought for Prince Daniel, whose 50th birthday on Friday was overshadowed by his father-in-law’s anniversary).

If you listen to our Sweden in Focus podcast, you can hear Paul put Becky and myself to the test to see how much we actually know about the king, and turns out it’s not a lot (in my defence, he has a lot of grandchildren – how is anyone supposed to be able to remember them?).

If you want to try the quiz yourself, here's a link.

My only personal relation to the king is that my father used to teach summer classes at Sigtuna Boarding School back when the king attended it as a high school student (during term time).

One day, he spotted two American tourists wandering the grounds. They knew that the Swedish crown prince went there and asked my dad if it would be possible to see the prince’s room?

My dad generously said “of course”, took them to his own room and lied that it belonged to the prince. They were delighted. The prince’s room! What a story to tell their friends back home.

So if any of our readers from the US have parents or grandparents who once visited the Swedish Crown Prince’s room at Sigtuna Boarding School… er, I apologise.

Have a great weekend,

Emma

Inside Sweden is our weekly newsletter for members that gives you news, analysis and, sometimes, takes you behind the scenes at The Local. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to your newsletter preferences.

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