World News

Swedish government in crisis talks with police over gang shootings

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish authorities will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday over a wave of gang shootings in cities that have made crime a central issue for voters ahead of September’s election.

Crime in Sweden is moderate compared to neighboring countries and murder rates are steady but 43 people were killed in shootings last year, a record high and up from eight in 2006.

“There have been a lot of shootings and deaths in a short time,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told Sweden’s national news agency TT. He will meet National Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg

Six men were shot and three killed in a drive-by shooting in the southern city of Malmo in mid-June.

Police said there were three to four ongoing gang conflicts in Malmo and the victims belonged to one of the factions. There have been two more shooting deaths in Malmo since then.

This week a further two men were shot dead in Orebro, a town due west of Stockholm.

Sweden has one of the highest levels of lethal gun violence in Europe, World Health Organisation data showed. Police say an increase in gang violence is mitigated by a decrease in other types of lethal crime.

Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg