In Brief

Sweden plans grenade amnesty as attacks soar

Many of the explosive devices used by criminals have been smuggled in from the Balkans, experts say

Sweden is planning to hold an amnesty for grenades after a rapid rise in the number of incidents involving the hand-held explosive devices.

The government has put forward proposals for a three-month amnesty between October 2018 and January 2019, which will be voted on early next year, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper reports.

Although crime has fallen in recent years, the number of grenade attacks in Sweden soared from eight in 2014 to 52 in 2016, according to the Swedish Police Authority.

These incidents have “shocked a Nordic country that prides itself on safety, led to worries criminality is out of control and given political fodder to a resurgent far-right that blames immigrant gangs for the violence”, Reuters reported in 2015.

One attack involved an eight-year-old British boy, who was killed when a grenade was thrown into a Gothenburg apartment last year. Investigators believe the attack was gang-related and may have been linked to an underworld feud.

Many of the grenades have been smuggled in from the Balkans, Manne Gerell, a criminology researcher at Malmo University told Quartz earlier this year.

“They are surplus weapons from the civil war,” he said, but “it’s not as well established exactly how they’ve come in [to Sweden].”

Though the attacks “appear random,” Swedish authorities believe many to be linked with organised crime, Quartz reported.

“In most cases, either the suspect or the victim is associated with a criminal network,” Gerell said.

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