Birmingham & Black Country

Grenade attack Birmingham boy Yuusuf Warsame 'died cradled in mother's arms'

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Media captionYuusuf's father heard of his son's death in a phone call

An eight-year-old boy killed by a grenade while on holiday in Sweden was cradled in his mother's arms as he died, his father has said.

Yuusuf Warsame, from Birmingham, described as a "happy" and "beautiful" boy, was in Gothenburg with his mother and four siblings.

His father, Abdiwahid Warsame, said he was desperate to join the family in Sweden.

Police in Sweden believe the attack may be linked to an underworld feud.

Updates on the story as it unfolds

Image copyright Sveriges Television Ab
Image caption The grenade smashed through the window of a living room where the boy was sleeping

Mr Warsame, who is a Dutch national, said: "When I heard the news I had to sit; I could no longer stand up.

"My wife's heart is broken. She told me that he died in front of her. She was covered in his blood."

Yuusuf's elder brother, who did not want to be named, said: "My brother was the happiest kid I knew.

"He was always smiling, always having fun. He was good in school."

Image caption Yuusuf's friend Omar said he was like a brother

Yuusuf's friend Omar was born in Sweden and they went to a religious school together where they studied the Koran each month.

Omar said: "He's my friend. I used to know him, I used to work with him. I feel he's like my brother so that's why I am really sad."

Yuusuf's cousin, Abdi Ladif Ali, said: "He was a happy, beautiful boy. We're devastated - the whole family, our community.

"The priority for us is to get his father to Sweden and bring back the rest of the family, and [Yuusuf]."

Azita Zohhadi, headteacher at Nelson Mandela School in Birmingham, where Yuusuf was a pupil, said it was "devastated and dismayed" by the news.

"It is extremely difficult to find the words to explain how much Yuusuf meant to us," she said.

"He was such a charming, thoughtful and respectful young boy. He was studious and had such a strong sense of curiosity about the world."

Image caption Mr Warsame said he was struggling to arrange immediate travel to Sweden

Yuusuf was born in Birmingham and was on a family holiday to visit relatives in Sweden.

He was sleeping in the living room of a flat on Monday night when a grenade was thrown through the window.

He was in the same room as his nine-year-old sister Aisha and brother Ahmed, five.

Yuusuf died on the way to hospital. His brother and sister escaped serious injury.

Image caption Yuusuf was one of five siblings and turned eight on the day he flew out to Sweden for a summer holiday visiting family
Image copyright Family handout

Gang crime

Police spokesperson Ulla Brehm told Radio Sweden: "We have a big problem in this area of gang criminality. We have had shootings and violence in this area.

"We now have a small boy dead because of the escalation of violence in the area."

She added: "This is new to us. Before criminals have been shooting towards each other."

More than one person registered to the address was a convicted criminal, Ms Brehm said.

'Immense sadness'

The news has shocked the 30,000-strong Somali community across the Midlands.

Abdi Hussain, chairman of the Somali Community Organisation, said: "There's a feeling of immense sadness for what has happened.

"Because [of] the community here, there are lots of connections and we are close.

"When the time for the funeral comes we will ask what the family need of us, and what we can do to help."

Image caption The family run a halal meat and grocery shop in the Small Heath area of Birmingham

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