The alleged perpetrator of the attack that killed five people in Norway on Wednesday is a convert to Islam, and has been in contact with law enforcement in the past on “fears of radicalization”.
A little more is known about the alleged perpetrator of the archery attack in Norway which left five dead and two injured on Wednesday in Kongsberg. Local police presented him on Thursday as a 37-year-old Danish convert to Islam with whom she had been in contact in the past on “fears of radicalization”.
“There have been fears related to radicalization previously,” Norwegian police official Ole Bredrup Saeverud said at a press briefing on Thursday. These fears, which have given rise to a follow-up, go back to 2020 and before, he said, before continuing: “We had not had a report on him in 2021, but before”.
Police say the suspect resides in the southeastern Norwegian town of 25,000 inhabitants, but gray areas remain, especially over his motives. While remaining cautious about the possible motives of this new bloody episode, the authorities have not ruled out a terrorist act. The suspect likely acted alone.
“We are investigating to confirm that the man was acting alone, we have no information to the contrary, but we are continuing the investigations to be completely sure,” added Ole Bredrup Saeverud.
The suspect is cooperative
Heard by investigators during the night, the suspect must be presented before a judge during the day this Thursday with a view to his placement in pre-trial detention. According to his lawyer, Fredrik Neumann, he is cooperative.
“He explains himself in detail and he speaks and cooperates well with the police,” he told reporters.
According to TV2, he admitted the facts. Also according to the channel, the suspect has a medical history, which the authorities did not want to confirm.
The press published photos of black arrows, visibly competitive, lying on the ground or, for one of them, firmly embedded in a wall. And testimonies are starting to emerge.
A woman, Hansine, who partially witnessed the attack, told TV2 that she heard a commotion and saw a woman taking cover as well as “a man around the corner with arrows in a quiver on the shoulder and a bow in the hand “.
“Afterwards, I saw people running for their lives. One of them was a woman who held a child by the hand,” she testified to the channel.
The attack, with an unusual modus operandi, occurred on the last day of the mandate of Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who is due to hand over the reins on Thursday to a new center-left government led by Jonas Gahr Støre, winner of the parliamentary elections of September 13.
“These events are shaking us,” Erna Solberg said at a press conference late Wednesday.
Several attacks in the past
In response to the attack, the Norwegian Police Directorate decided that officers, who are usually unarmed, would carry weapons on a temporary basis across the country. A traditionally peaceful nation, Norway has in the past been the target of far-right attacks.
On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people by detonating a bomb near the seat of government in Oslo, killing eight, before opening fire on a Labor Youth rally on the island of Utøya, causing 69 other victims.
In August 2019, Philip Manshaus also shot in a mosque near Oslo, before being overpowered by worshipers, without causing serious injuries. He had previously racially shot down his adoptive, Asian-born half-sister. Several plans for Islamist attacks were also thwarted.