25 Jul 2011

Norway attacks: I survived by hiding in a tree

In a Channel 4 News exclusive, Ugandan Sam Muyizzi tells Simon Israel how he survived the Utoya island massacre by hiding in a tree.

Sam Muyizzi told Channel 4 News he was just 50 metres away from gunman Anders Behring Breivik when he opened fire on crowds of people on Utoya island.

“He said, ‘This is police, you’re safe.’ That’s the trick he used.

“Several times people ran towards him thinking he was police and then he would shoot.

“He was very smart the way he was talking. No panic at all.”

Mr Muyizzi said he ran from the gunman when he saw bodies falling to the ground.

“I went up into the tree because I’m not a good swimmer,” he said.

At one time he was aiming at me, but the helicopter probably took away his attention and he didn’t shoot at me. Sam Muyizzi, Utoeya survivor

“At one time, he was aiming at me. I thought he shooting my leg but the helicopter probably took away his attention and he didn’t shoot at me.”

He said he watched the gunman shoot “indiscriminately” at his targets.

“I watched him (the gunman) shoot so many people so many times. I saw him shooting more than 15 people dead. So many times. Many people ran into the water.

“I can’t explain. No words can explain someone shooting someone six times. It was horrible.”

‘I saw this girl was dying’

Sam is not a strong swimmer but he cut his feet and hands to rescue a girl who was drowning in the water: “I saw this girl was dying so I had to forcefully lift her… she relaxed and she swam in a relaxed way and later on I met her and she was OK.”

He told Channel 4 News he was shocked the violence had happened, particularly in such a peaceful country.

“I have survived so many tragedies. But not someone shooting so casually.

“In our country we’re used to seeing guns even in the streets. But I imagined (Norway) was the most peaceful country I knew.”