Norwegian police on Thursday presented the alleged perpetrator of an archery attack that left five people dead the day before in Kongsberg as a 37-year-old Dane who converted to Islam with whom she had been in contact in the past for complaints. “fears of radicalization”.
The man suspected of killing five people on Wednesday October 13 in Kongsberg, south-eastern Norway, using a bow and arrows converted to Islam and police on followed due to worrying signs of radicalization, regional police chief Ole Bredrup Saeverud told a press conference on Thursday.
“This is about a convert to Islam,” Norwegian police official Ole Bredrup Saeverud said at a press briefing in Tonsberg on Thursday. “There have been fears related to radicalization previously,” he added, adding that these fears dated back to 2020 and before, and that they had given rise to police monitoring. “We had not had a report on him in 2021, but before,” said the officer.
The police had already indicated that the suspect, arrested shortly after the facts at around 6:45 p.m. local time (4:45 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday evening, resided in Kongsberg, a small town of about 25,000 inhabitants about 80 kilometers away. west of Oslo.
He used a bow and arrows to shoot his victims, although the police also mentioned other weapons. “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.
Five people died and two others were injured in the attack which shocked the peaceful Scandinavian kingdom, already ravaged by two far-right attacks in the past decade.
The police do not rule out the terrorist trail
While remaining cautious about the possible motives of this new bloody episode, the police had not ruled out a terrorist act Wednesday evening. “We are investigating among other things to clarify whether it is a terrorist attack,” said Ole Bredrup Saeverud. “We are relatively certain that he acted alone,” he added.
The victims are four women and a man aged between 50 and 70, he said, adding that none of the injured was in critical condition. The suspect admitted to the facts during his questioning, police said.
He was heard by investigators overnight and must be presented to a judge on Thursday or Friday with a view to his remand in custody. 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.
The attack occurred in several places over a large area of Kongsberg, including a supermarket. It was there that a policeman, who was not on duty at the time, was injured. Alerted at 6:12 p.m. (4:12 p.m. GMT), the police arrested the suspect more than half an hour later, at 6:47 p.m. They came under fire from arrows at the time of the arrest and had to shoot. warning shots.
Norwegians in shock
Testimonies illustrated the feeling of terror that gripped the inhabitants of Kongsberg. 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, took place 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 Store, winner of the 13th legislative elections. September. The latter deplored Thursday of “horrible acts”.
“We are horrified by the tragic events in Kongsberg”, also reacted King Harald V, while the head of the UN, Antonio Guterres, said in a tweet “shocked and saddened”. In response to the attack, police, who are usually unarmed, will temporarily carry weapons across the country.
With AFP and Reuters