OSLO, 14 Oct 2021:
A man accused of the murder of five people in a bow and arrow rampage in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg is a convert to Islam and was previously reported to the authorities amid concerns he had become radicalised, police said today.
Norwegian authorities added that it was too early to ascertain whether the attack was an act of terror.
Four women and a man aged between 50 and 70 were killed in the attack, with two others wounded yesterday in a town west of Oslo by an attacker armed with a bow and arrow, Norwegian police said.
A suspect is in custody following the rampage in Kongsberg, a town of some 29,000 people 70km southwest the capital.
Local media reported that the assailant, 37, is a Danish national and resident of Kongsberg, had used other weapons besides the bow and arrow.
Ole B. Sæverud, local police chief for Norway’s southeast district, told a press conference today the accused was a convert to Islam and that police had previously received reports raising concerns about his possible radicalisation.
He added that those reports had been followed up, and that no further reports on the matter were filed this year, according to declarations cited by Norwegian news agency NRK.
Police attorney Ann Irén Svane Mathiassen told NRK the accused was cooperating in his interrogation and had admitted to the charges.
“From the course of events, it is natural to consider whether this is an act of terrorism,” district police commander Øyvind Aas told an earlier press conference.
There is “no active search for more people” and the attacker appears to have acted alone, Aas said.
At 6:13pm, police received a call about an assailant with a box and arrow attacking people in the centre of Kongsberg and officers apprehended the suspect 44 minutes later after a “confrontation.”
“They are many crime scenes. This person moved over a wide area,” Aas said.
Norway’s outgoing prime minister Erna Solberg said it was too soon to speculate about the motive for the “gruesome” attack.
She said the tragedy would not affect today’s transfer of power to new prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who described what happened in Kongsberg as “a cruel and brutal act.”
In a departure from standard police practice in Norway, where officers normally carry guns only with prior approval, the national police directorate said members of the force would be armed until further notice.
“Due to the serious incident in Kongsberg where several people were killed and injured tonight, the police in Norway are temporarily armed,” the directorate said in a statement.
“This is an additional emergency measure. The police currently have no concrete indications that there is a change in the threat level in the country.”