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How tolerant Sweden has become a haven for ultra violent gangs because of it’s open door immigration

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TRUDGING through rain on a bleak Swedish sink estate, Libaan Warsame reaches the spot where his son had laid bleeding to death.

His eyes welling with tears, the dad of eight told me: “Hanad was a good boy, he wasn’t involved with gangs, he’d never done anything criminal.

Hanad, 19, was hit by two bullets when two masked gunmen started firing into a crowd

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Hanad, 19, was hit by two bullets when two masked gunmen started firing into a crowdCredit: Supplied
Grieving dad Libaan Warsame said: 'Hanad was a good boy, he wasn’t involved with gangs, he’d never done anything criminal'

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Grieving dad Libaan Warsame said: ‘Hanad was a good boy, he wasn’t involved with gangs, he’d never done anything criminal’Credit: Dan Charity
Gang expert Diamant Salihu said: 'There’s a consensus now that Sweden has failed with integration'

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Gang expert Diamant Salihu said: ‘There’s a consensus now that Sweden has failed with integration’Credit: Dan Charity
Maritha Ogilvie holds a photo of her son Marley, 24, who was shot and killed in 2015

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Maritha Ogilvie holds a photo of her son Marley, 24, who was shot and killed in 2015Credit: Dan Charity

“He’d gone out to get food at 9.30pm and was among a group of 30 youngsters when two masked gunmen started firing into the crowd.”

The 19-year-old desperately tried to claw open the glass doors of a library to reach safety but slumped in the street with two bullets in his body.

Unemployed Libaan, who had brought his family to Sweden from Somalia in 1994 to escape its brutal civil war, is mourning a son in a land renowned as a peace-loving beacon of liberalism.

He is far from alone. For Sweden, known as a tolerant, law-abiding, humanitarian superpower, is now in the grip of ultra-violent gang wars.

Twenty years ago, crimes involving firearms were almost non-existent here. Yet in 2022 the gun murder rate in Swedish capital Stockholm was around 25 times higher than London.

Many of the Scandi gangsters are from second or third generation immigrant backgrounds who have grown up in poverty and feel excluded from wider Swedish society.

Famed for welcoming asylum seekers and a generous welfare state, politicians from across the political spectrum now say Sweden has failed to successfully integrate migrants from the world’s trouble spots.

Behind much of the bloodshed are so-called child soldiers, groomed to kill for cash and the warped notion of street prestige.

Children aged 12 and 13 have been caught with automatic weapons, while boys as young as nine act as streetcorner lookouts for the mobsters.

In one recent court case it emerged a 15-year-old, who committed murder for around £6,300 in cash, had written to a friend: “I shot I kill.”

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The pal’s sickening response was: “Hahahahahaha. Head shot?”

In Sweden the most severe punishment for a murderer aged 15 is four years in youth detention.

Gang expert Diamant Salihu, 40, told me: “There’s a consensus now that Sweden has failed with integration.”

The author and investigative reporter added: “Germany has taken in a lot of migrants but you don’t hear about child soldiers there.”

Around one in five Swedes — 2.2million people — were born abroad.

In 2015 alone it took in 163,000 refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Too many migrants have festered without jobs or prospects, in poverty- blighted satellite towns and tough estates, leaving them feeling excluded from the Swedish mainstream.

On the Tensta estate — where Hanad Warsame was gunned down in 2020 — and neighbouring Rinkeby, a vicious feud between rival Swedish/Somali gangs the Dödspatrullen (Death Squad) and the Shottaz (the Shooters) has left ten dead.

The gangs were nurtured amid the jumble of apartment blocks a world away from the genteel and tourist-thronged squares of central Stockholm some ten miles from them.

According to Swedish police, the Death Squad’s tentacles even reach the UK.

Its godfathers mastermind the movement of drugs from Spain to Britain and other European nations.

Gang feuds erupt over the drugs trade and, increasingly, personal vendettas.

Tentacles reach UK

There were 363 shootings, claiming 53 lives, in 2023.

A fortnight ago, one of Sweden’s biggest rap stars, C.Gambino, was shot dead in a Gothenburg car park. Known for wearing black masks, the 29-year-old — real name Karar Ramadan — is believed by police to have had links to gangs.

Bomb attacks ordered by warring crimelords are also now a common occurrence in Sweden.

Last year there were 149 blasts, with innocent members of the public killed and maimed.

Newly qualified primary school teacher Soha Saad, 24, was killed when a massive explosion destroyed her home last September.

A local in Uppsala — a once tranquil university city an hour’s drive north of Stockholm — said the scene resembled “something you see on the news from Afghanistan”.

Soha — described as “ambitious, kind and generous” — wasn’t even the intended target.

Hoodlums were after a neighbour believed to be the relative of a rival gang member.

Amid the carnage, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called in the military to take on the gangs, saying: “Irresponsible immigration policies and failed integration have led us here.”

The two godfathers behind the Uppsala blood-letting, Rawa Majid, known as the Kurdish Fox, and his former right-hand man and now bitter enemy, Ismail Abdo, alias Strawberry, have fled abroad.

So what attracts Swedish youngsters barely in their teens to the gangster world?

At a central Stockholm apartment I met 6ft 2in Essa Sallah Kah, who was known as Big Daddy or The Boss when he ruled the 150-strong Chosen Ones mob.

Reformed gangster turned social worker Essa Sallah Kah who was known as Big Daddy

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Reformed gangster turned social worker Essa Sallah Kah who was known as Big DaddyCredit: Dan Charity
Masked rapper C.Gambino was shot dead in an ambush attack by gunmen at a car park

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Masked rapper C.Gambino was shot dead in an ambush attack by gunmen at a car parkCredit: Instagram
Police at the scene of a bomb attack ordered by warring crimelords

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Police at the scene of a bomb attack ordered by warring crimelordsCredit: AFP
The Tensta estate — where Hanad Warsame was gunned down in 2020

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The Tensta estate — where Hanad Warsame was gunned down in 2020Credit: Dan Charity

Born in violence-ravaged Gambia, West Africa, Essa arrived on the Rinkeby estate aged nine before moving to Dalen, in south Stockholm.

Lured into gang life at 12, he revealed: “No one talked to me about what I’d seen in the war in Gambia. My parents had their own problems and didn’t have time for me.

“So I was out in the streets with the boys. There you’d have five people with the same problems as you. It was like building a new family. The older guys in the gang became my role models.”

With a powerful physique from his teens, Essa acted as muscle for the Yugoslav and Turkish gang elders, adding: “They were drug dealers. They drove nice cars and people had respect for them.

“I wanted to prove that we blacks can do it too. The attitude was, ‘Don’t come and f*** around with us’.”

Later he began carrying guns — AK-47 assault rifles or Colt handguns — and robbing shops, while his intimidating size meant the gang used him as a debt collector.

When I ask him if he had tortured anyone, he twitches nervously, and says: “S**t happens.”

Feared in the underworld, Big Daddy would establish the Chosen Ones and enjoy all the trappings of gangster life.

He drove a Mercedes and was ushered to the best seats in Stockholm’s clubs, accompanied by a retinue of bodyguards and gofers.

“Wherever I went, I had a table,” he added. “I didn’t stand in queues.”

Yet Essa always had one eye out for bloodthirsty rivals and the law.

He would serve around five years for crimes including kidnapping, extortion and smuggling high-end cars to Africa.

‘Wasted my life’

When he reached his 40s, the strain of criminality had taken its toll.

The cocaine and amphetamine-addled boss had bloated to 36st.

He was a mental and physical wreck.

Struck down with blood-poisoning, in 2019 Essa vowed to turn his back on gangs for the sake of his two children.

Now 51, Essa, who has a deep faith in God, explained: “I feel like I’ve wasted my life. I was very big in this world. I had one of the biggest gangs. But nobody knew how I felt inside.

“People saw me as this dangerous guy but I was anxious inside. None of the people who are doing this are happy.”

Today Essa is a social worker trying to help youngsters leave the gang world.

The searing pain caused by this lost generation reverberates across this once-peaceful land.

At her comfortable Stockholm flat, care worker Maritha Ogilvie pets rescue dog Grace beneath portraits of her handsome dead son, Marley.

Aged 19, her only child was not the intended target when he was shot dead in a friend’s car in 2015. His killer has never been found.

“Marley was happy, fun, he loved to talk and make people laugh,” eloquent Maritha, 53, told me.

“He wasn’t involved in gangs, he wanted to work in an Adidas store in London.”

Maritha tells how the driver of the car had fallen out with gang members.

The motor was sprayed with automatic gunfire and Marley was hit in the head.

‘I wanted revenge’

His mum says: “There have been times when I have wanted to see the killer’s blood, I wanted revenge.

“After a while, living with that type of hatred inside you will drive you insane. It’s going to kill you.

“So I decided to forgive the person who killed my son, even though I don’t know who it is.”

Now campaigning to stop violence, Maritha has met politicians and demanded more CCTV, better witness protection and that those recruiting child soldiers get stiffer sentences.

One man hell-bent on defeating the gangs is police chief Jale Poljarevius, 59.

The Head of Intelligence for the Mitt area, which includes Uppsala, told me: “We have to work to stop gang recruitment, make members defect and lock up as many as we can.

“We must never, ever lose our belief that we will prevail.”

Back on the Tensta estate, on Stockholm’s northern fringe, Libaan Warsame patrols the windswept streets with other parents in his “Stop the shootings” group to warn youngsters of the perils of gang life.

“The loss and emptiness is in my heart daily,” this shattered father revealed.

“How many more children must be murdered before something is done?”

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