October 26, 2016

British schoolboy ‘killed in grenade explosion in Sweden’

Forensic police investigate the flat where the explosion occurred.|AFP

An eight-year-old killed after a grenade exploded in an apartment in Sweden was a schoolboy from Birmingham, according to reports.

The boy was visiting family in Gothenburg when the blast hit their third-floor apartment early on Monday, Swedish police said. He died of his injuries on the way to hospital.

The youngster was named in reports as Yuusuf Warsame, a pupil at Nelson Mandela primary school in Sparkhill, Birmingham. A family member told the Birmingham Mail that two of his siblings and his mother were also caught up in the attack, which was being linked in Sweden to a gangland feud.

Police said in a statement that a boy was sleeping in the living room of an apartment in the working-class neighbourhood of Biskopsgården in Gothenburg, on Sweden’s west coast, when an unidentified attacker threw a hand grenade through the window. At least five children and several adults were in the apartment at the time.

Yuusuf’s father, Abdiwahid Warsame, was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying that his son had been on holiday with his mother and two brothers.

“He was a lovely boy, a beautiful child,” he said. “He was so well liked at school and really worked on his education. He wanted to do well in life and not make bad decisions.

“He was just a normal boy with his education ahead of him.”

Swedish media linked the violence to a gangland feud and quoted police as saying a man convicted of a fatal shooting last year was registered at the address. In March 2015, armed men burst into a pub in Biskopsgården, gunning down an innocent bystander and a man known to police. Eight people were convicted earlier this month for the attack, which took place in the context of an ongoing feud between members of Gothenburg’s Somali community, and handed sentences ranging from seven years to life in prison.

While Sweden is generally a peaceful, safe country with low crime rates, police have had difficulty addressing violence in poorer neighbourhoods in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. In recent years, there have been grenade attacks, shootings and incidents of car arson.

Incidents have included the killing in March last year of two men and the wounding of more than 10 people by gunmen who opened fire in a pub in a suspected gang-related attack.

The issue has been one of the main topics of Sweden’s political debate this summer, as cars have been set alight in the neighbourhoods on an almost nightly basis. The centre-right opposition has called for 2,000 more police officers to be hired, while the leftwing government has proposed a series of crime prevention measures.

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