(Kongsberg) Norwegian police have arrested a 37-year-old Dane on suspicion of a bow and arrow attack that left five dead and two injured on Wednesday in Konsberg, southeastern country, investigators not excluding at this stage a terrorist motivation.
The suspect, arrested shortly after the incident, is a 37-year-old Danish citizen residing in Kongsberg, Norwegian police said in a statement released overnight Wednesday to Thursday.
“We have decided to confirm this information, because many rumors are circulating on social networks around the perpetrator of the attack, some [mettant en cause] people unrelated to the serious acts committed, ”she added.
Earlier in the evening, the head of the local police force, Øyvind Aas, reported at a press briefing that five people were dead and two injured.
The two injured were hospitalized in critical care units but, according to Øyvind Aas, there is no indication that their lives are in danger. One of them was an off-duty policeman who was in a supermarket, one of the multiple locations where the attack occurred.
“According to the information we have now, there is only one person involved in these acts,” added the policeman. No other suspect is therefore sought.
The perpetrator’s motives are still unknown at this stage.
According to the generally well-informed TV2 channel, the alleged perpetrator is a convert to Islam and has a medical history – which the authorities were unwilling to confirm.
“Given the unfolding of the facts, it is natural to assess whether it is a terrorist attack,” said Øyvind Aas.
“The suspect was not heard and it is too early to comment on his motives”, he added, adding that the investigators kept “all possibilities open”.
“Quiver on the shoulder”
Informed at 6:13 p.m. (12:13 p.m. EDT), police arrested the suspect at 6:47 p.m. and took him to the police station in the nearby town of Drammen.
In Kongsberg, a small town of about 25,000 inhabitants about 80 kilometers west of Oslo, access to the crime scene was blocked by a police cordon and agents, an AFP correspondent noted.
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 was holding a child by the hand, ”she testified to the channel.
“These events are shaking us,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg, whose last day in office was. She will give up her post on Thursday to Labor Jonas Gahr Støre, winner of the September 13 legislative elections.
Residents were called to stay at home as large police forces and multiple ambulances were deployed.
Police and medical helicopters as well as a team of deminers were also dispatched.
The Norwegian Police Directorate has decided that officers, who are usually unarmed, will carry weapons on a temporary basis across the country.
Several media have disseminated photos of black arrows, of competition it seems, lying on the ground or, for one of them, firmly embedded in a wall.
In the past, Norway, a traditionally peaceful nation, has 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 his adoptive Asian half-sister.
Several plans for Islamist attacks were also thwarted.