The new acting chief of police in the region has described the situation in Malmö as serious.
“There’s a serious situation in Malmö when it comes to gang crime and deadly violence. Far too many young men have been killed here,” Klas Friberg commented at a press conference on Thursday.
Police said on Friday that they do not believe Thursday’s shooting is linked to gang violence.
Hundreds of the friends, family and neighbours of the teenage boy shot dead in Malmö gathered on Friday evening for a sombre but defiant demonstration in his memory, as police pledged to bring an end to the murder wave sweeping the city.
Mourners lit candles and laid flowers at the bus stop in Malmö’s Rosengård district where Ahmed Obaid, 16, was shot dead by as-yet unknown gunmen on Thursday evening.
”We are gathered here to say: ‘That’s it now. It’s enough,” Redha Habib, a small businesswoman who represents the Iraqi community, told the crowd.
“Why is it always the best ones who are taken. Why?” Obaid’s cousin Ruaa Abbas told the local Sydsvenskan newspaper. “He wanted to be a doctor. He was going to have a maths test today and he had just bought a new calculator. I never thought that the violence would come so close to me. I still can’t grasp it.”
Malmö police on Saturday branded the shooting “a special event” allowing them to release more resources to track down the killers. But by Saturday morning they admitted they had yet to make a breakthrough.
“We want to make contact with everyone who knows something, has seen something, or has anything whatsoever that can help us,” police press spokesman Lars Förstell told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.
Police do not believe that the boy’s death is linked to Malmö’s gangs, as the boy had no criminal record and was not previously known to the police.
Swedish Home Affairs minister Anders Ygeman on Friday pledged to do everything in his power to end the growing gun violence in the city, with 12 fatal shootings taking place in Malmö in 2016, giving the city a murder rate about three times that of London.
“The presence of police must improve in socially exposed areas and the people guilty of these crimes must be put behind bars,” Ygeman told the TT newswire. “We are ready to offer the necessary resources and legislation to change the situation.”
Ygeman is travelling to Malmo next week to meet with city officials.
Rosengård locals told Sydsvenksan at the memorial that they wanted more police on the ground in the area as well as tougher penalties for criminals.
“I really sympathise with the police,” Zeinab Bazzi told the paper. “They take a huge amount of shit, and I understand that they can’t watch our building 24 hours a day. They also must feel betrayed when criminals are let out of prison after only a month or two.”
The local Sydsvenskan newspaper on Friday launched a campaign Framåt Malmö or Forward Malmö to push to improve conditions in the city.