Crime For Members

Who's who in Sweden's gang conflict?

The Local Sweden
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Who's who in Sweden's gang conflict?
Three people were arrested after a man was shot to death and another was injured in Jordbro on September 28th. Photo: Nils Petter Nilsson/TT

Sweden’s most recent wave of gang violence appears to be part of an internal conflict in the so-called Foxtrot gang. Who are the people involved and how did they become some of the most infamous people in Sweden?


The Kurdish Fox (Kurdiska räven)

Name: Rawa Majid

Affiliation: Leader of Foxtrot

Age: 37

Family: 3 children

Background: Majid was born in Uppsala in 1986 and used to run an ice cream kiosk along with his mother as a teenager. His first offence was a break-in at the age of 19.

Rawa Majid, also known as the Kurdish Fox. Image: Swedish Customs Service/Police/TT

He was handed an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence in 2009 for smuggling cocaine into Sweden.

“He was one of a group of young people in Uppsala who took a wrong turn very early,” lawyer Tom Placht, who represented Majid in the case, told the TT newswire.

“You could talk to some of them and even help to nudge them in the right direction, but there were others who you couldn’t even talk to – and he was one of them.”

He was released from prison in spring 2015, and sentenced to prison again in July that year for assisting a kidnapping and assisting an aggravated assault. 


In February 2018, he was released on probation, and was allowed to leave Sweden in 2019 due to a rising threat against him.


A year later, in 2020, European police managed to crack encrypted messaging service Encrochat, used by organised criminals.

One user, Foxkurdish, who was later identified as Majid, was of particular interest to police due to his organising role in major drug trades, as well as messages showing off thick wads of cash and Rolex watches, reported TT.

A number of arrests were made and an international warrant was issued for Majid, who managed to evade capture and remain active by gaining Turkish citizenship, through buying a property in the country worth around 4 million kronor, Turkish media reported. Turkey, like Sweden, does not extradite its own citizens.


The Strawberry (Jordgubben), also known as Dr Phil

Name: Ismail Abdo

Affiliation: Previously Foxtrot, as Majid’s right-hand man. Now his arch enemy.

Age: 33

Abdo has previously been sentenced for weapons possession and serious drug offences, and was handed a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence in 2016.

An international arrest warrant for serious drug offences was issued for him last autumn, as police suspect he was involved in smuggling 100 kilo of amphetamine into Sweden.

He is also believed to be in Turkey, and has become a Turkish citizen.


What happened between Majid and Abdo to spark this conflict?

“It’s a proxy war we’re seeing right now,” Swedish crime reporter Katrin Krantz, from the Expressen newspaper, told The Local in our Sweden in Focus podcast.

“The leadership in the Foxtrot gang, Rawa Majid, and his former ally, Ismail Abdo, have both been detained by Swedish prosecutors many times over for serious crimes, but they have moved to Turkey, and something has made them turn against each other.”

According to Swedish public broadcaster SVT the conflict started when someone affiliated to Abdo was attacked. Shortly after, on September 6th, shots were fired at an address in Istanbul linked to Majid, which may have been an attempt to murder him.

“We know there have been several attempted attacks in Turkey, but everything just seems to have imploded there,” Krantz said.

On September 7th, Abdo’s mother, in her 60s and with no criminal record, was shot through an open window in a revenge killing in Gränby, Uppsala.

“When Ismail Abdo’s mother was murdered in Uppsala, it turned into this spiral of violence that is now playing out, we’re seeing it in cities such as Uppsala, but also Norrköping and Stockholm, it’s everywhere where people who are connected to these people live," said Krantz.

“I would say that that was the start of this very violent period we’ve seen.”


Leader: Rawa Majid

According to police, the Foxtrot network organises large-scale drug smuggling to Sweden for wider distribution both within Sweden and beyond its borders.

Shipments of cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis marked with fox symbols have been seized by police. Affiliated members, including some well-known rappers, wear diamond-studded gold rings in the form of a fox to show their loyalty.


The Bro network, based in Bro, north of Stockholm. The Zero network, based in Jordbro, south of Stockholm, and the May network, also active in southern Stockholm. Police suspect that the May network acts as foot soldiers for Majid.


On the other side of the ongoing gang conflict in Sweden is the Dalen network, which is active in Enskededalen, southern Stockholm. Foxtrot is also in conflict with another gang, Bandidos, which was at the centre of a violent motorcycle gang conflict in Scandinavia in the 1990s.

“The conflict with Dalen was behind what we call the first wave of violence that we saw maybe from January and until the summer, and we also saw some attacks on Bandidos that we think are connected," said Krantz.

Earlier this year SVT reported that both sides of that particular conflict agreed to not attack each others’ family or friends, after a number of attacks on parents and other relatives of gang members, but the latest wave of violence isn’t covered by this ceasefire, as it’s due to an internal rift within the Foxtrot gang.


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