(Stockholm) In an explosion that devastated a building in Gothenburg, Sweden, 16 people were injured, four of them seriously, said the authorities, who do not rule out a crime against the background of the mafia reckoning.
Posted on Sep 28, 2021 at 6:29 am Updated at 9:26 am
In the morning, several fires raged in the building, caused by an explosion of as yet unknown cause, and thick white smoke poured from the building in the center of the Nordic country’s second largest city.
After the dispatch of major aid, the fire was brought under control in the early afternoon, said the head of operations.
“It is obvious that a criminal offense cannot be ruled out,” said Interior Minister Mikael Damberg at a press conference with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
According to the regional daily Göteborgs Posten, a policeman lives in the building in question, who recently testified against the city’s gangs in a major trial.
“We will of course be monitoring this lead,” the official, whose name is unknown, told the newspaper himself.
Mr Löfven, who in recent years has been criticized for the ineffectiveness of his government against Mafia gangs active in Sweden, did not want to “speculate” on the origin of the explosion.
“Everyone should know that society is always stronger than crime,” he said, however.
Police say the cause of the explosion, which occurred just before 5 a.m. (11 p.m. Monday EDT), is not yet known.
But a “natural origin” like a leak seems impossible, especially since the neighborhood is not supplied with gas, said John Pile, the head of relief operations, to AFP.
According to police sources quoted by Göteborgs Post, an explosive device may have been placed on one of the front doors, a practice that has been common in Mafia settlements in recent years.
16 people with injuries from the explosion and fire were taken to Gothenburg University Hospital, according to institution spokeswoman Ingrid Fredriksson. Three women and one man were seriously injured.
Sweden has been fighting the growth of criminal gangs for several years, which in particular has led to a high number of deadly shootings, explosions and settlements in an otherwise rather peaceful country.
In 2020, more than a hundred detonations and 102 other incidents related to attempted explosions or preparations were recorded in a country of just over 10 million people.