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Updated: August 1, 2011 11:50 IST

'He seemed he was enjoying it'

Michael Schwirtz
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A survivor of the Utoya island shooting spree.
AFP A survivor of the Utoya island shooting spree.

Anders Behring Breivik surrendered without a struggle, seemingly content.

It has been a rite of passage for Norway's liberal elite for decades: a summer camp set on a verdant Nordic isle called Utoya, where this week hundreds of young people gathered to meet government ministers, dive into election strategy sessions and maybe find a little summer romance.

But for Helen Andreassen, a 21-year-old aspiring politician, a celebration of bright futures became something horrifyingly different when she and her friends jumped from a second-story window to escape the bullets of a man who was hunting them specifically because of their politics.

They ran for their lives, she said, tumbling down the rocky heights to the sea shore, hoping the man in the police officer's uniform would not pursue them into the water. But he kept shooting.

“He was standing just by the water, using his rifle, just taking his time, aiming and shooting,” Ms Andreassen said. “It was a slaughter of young children.”

For more than an hour, the gunman stalked the forests and steep, rocky shores of the island. There were no bridges to provide escape. Time was on his side.

The young people desperately silenced their cellphones and stripped off colourful clothing. But the shooter was methodical. After killing several people on one part of the island, he went to the other, and, dressed in his police uniform, calmly convinced the children huddled there that he meant to save them. When they emerged into the open, he fired again and again.

“He shot a boy in the back,” said Stine Renate Haaheim, 27, a Member of Parliament who was also among those hiding. “I saw that some people were falling, and we turned around and ran. At that point, I didn't look back.”

The police have identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik, who in his writings has portrayed himself as a modern knight, charged with driving out Islam and immigrants and the political correctness that he said had been wrongly invited into Norway and was thriving there.

The campers at Utoya appeared to be the embodiment of his hatred.

Organised by the youth wing of the ruling Labour Party, the camp has become a kind of multicultural incubator in recent years. Many of the victims in Friday's shooting were the children of immigrants from Africa and Asia who have begun to stake out a greater role for themselves in Norwegian society.

Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, 23, a camp member, was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Norway when she was 3. She is dark-skinned, wears a nose stud and speaks both Norwegian and English in seemingly native accents.

She described a Norway that was increasingly divided along class and ethnic lines and said there was a growing hostility toward people who were not ethnically Norwegian, even those born in the country. But she saw the camp on Utoya as a sanctuary, a promise of a better country. “It was for me the safest place in the world,” she said.

For her, and hundreds of others trapped with her, and generations of current and former Labour leaders, the island's personal significance now includes a national tragedy.

Norway's Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, was scheduled to speak to the campers this week. A former leader of Labour's youth wing, he had attended the camp every summer since the 1970s.

The killer “turned a paradise of my youth into hell,” Mr. Stoltenberg said on Saturday when he went to the area to meet with survivors and their families, as did King Harald V and Queen Sonja.

Police are working on the assumption that Breivik, having drawn security services to central Oslo when he exploded a car bomb outside government offices, travelled to Utoya, taking one of the ferries that brought campers and others over from the mainland.

When he arrived, about 600 people were there, most gathered in the main assembly building for a briefing on the bombing. Many came from political families and were frantically trying to get a hold of relatives who worked at the site of the blast.

Ms Andreassen was able to get in touch with her father, Lasse Kristiansen, a labour union worker, to determine that he was uninjured in the blast. But a short time later, he received a text message telling him to call the police. “After that, time stood still,” Mr. Kristiansen said.

His daughter's cellphone went silent, and it was hours before he knew that she and another daughter had saved themselves by swimming until they were picked up by a passing boat.

There was little shelter or chance for those caught back on the island. Witnesses told Norwegian news agencies that the shooter sprayed bullets into piles of dead bodies, apparently seeking those that were hiding among them. On Saturday night, the authorities knew that 85 had been killed, and still sought bodies in the water, or in an unchecked corner of Utoya.

“He seemed he was enjoying it,” Magnus Stenseth, a youth leader, told the Norwegian newspaper VG. “He walked around the island as if he had absolute power.”

It took the police about 40 minutes to reach the island, but once they confronted Breivik, his lethal animation seemed to melt away, they said. He surrendered without a struggle, seemingly content. — New York Times News Service

(Henrik Pryser Libell contributed reporting.)

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Such freek people, read some varied materials, unconnected to each other, in the internt, think freekly, probably under drug influence or phsychic mood, come out with obnormal ideas and try. They dont for a moment shut their free thought and see worldly reality. Life; human life is so precious and to be put into positive use. Freedom in thought & expression is misused. Today world requires more asylums right from US to Japan. Internet contents should be subjected to sensor for comon man's use and made free full use only to universities and reaserchers.

from:  sampathkumar.R
Posted on: Jul 28, 2011 at 14:39 IST

One wonders what drove this man to commit such a mad crime. Ideology is just an excuse for this maniac. It seems he had killed for the sake of killing and has tried to reason that out with some unseen, unfelt threat to identities. Nothing can be more valuable than human life which in an Indian cultural context is equated with omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient element of godhead which is present in every living being. His concerns for Hindus is nothing but rantings of a confirmed lunatic who just enjoyed killing people.

from:  Mahadevan
Posted on: Jul 26, 2011 at 16:53 IST
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