Three people have been injured in Österåker, north of Stockholm, after a suspect stabbed and pepper sprayed them in what is believed to be a conflict between rival criminal gangs.
Police say the incident broke out Wednesday evening and they received an emergency call at 9:41 pm indicating there had been gunshots in the area of the Åkersberga Centrum shopping centre.
Witnesses say one of the suspects involved fled in a car before police arrived, Expressen reports.
Anna Westberg of the Stockholm police later confirmed two of the victims were stabbed, while the third suffered from injuries related to being pepper sprayed.
“No one has been found with gunshot wounds. No one is arrested. We have several patrols in place to sort out what happened,” Westberg added.
“Three people were taken to the hospital. Their condition is unclear,” Westberg said but would not comment on the age of the victims or give any statement on their identities.
“There is nothing that we can comment on at this time. We are on site to find out more about what has happened.”
A witness claims the incident occurred between rival gangs and identified the attacker and the victims as gang members.
Gang violence is said to be responsible for much of the violence in areas like Malmö where grenade attacks and shootings between rival gangs have become increasingly common. Malmö, a city with a large foreign-born population, has suffered frequent attacks by gangs on each other for years.
Many of the gangs are said to be comprised of young migrants and Malmö has more gun crime than all the capital cities of all other Nordic countries combined. Within Sweden, the capital of Stockholm was even higher than Malmö with 189 people having been shot compared to Malmö’s 63 over a five-year period, according to the 2015 figures.
The violence in the migrant-heavy suburbs, or No-Go Zones, has been the subject of protests by the migrant residents who live there. Some have blamed politicians and “colonial logic” for violence in areas such as the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby.
Others, meanwhile, have put the blame on the shoulders of migrant gangs, saying criminals and their families should be deported from Sweden.