27 Jul 2011

Norway PM sets up inquiry into Breivik massacre

Norway’s prime minister has set up an independent security review in the wake of Anders Behring Breivik’s killing spree which left at least 76 people dead.

Critics have accused the police of taking too long to reach Utoya island where Breivik shot 68 people, mostly teenagers, at a summer camp for the Labour Party’s youth wing. It took police more than an hour to arrest Breivik after they learnt of the shootings.

Prime Minister Jen Stoltenberg said: “Especially after the investigation is finished, there will be a time for going through all the experiences, learning from what happened and then draw the conclusions regarding, for instance, security measures, and I welcome also a debate about that because every country, every society that experiences this kind of very dramatic incidents, has to go through ‘what can we learn? what did we do right? and what did we do wrong?’

“And then try to do whatever we can to avoid something similar in the future, and then part of that evaluation will be also to go through how we organise our security, security measures, security services.”

He added: “The brutal attacks in Norway on Friday are a national tragedy. It’s also an attack on our humanity, fundamental values, openness and democracy.

“We will not be intimidated or threatened by these attacks. The aim of such attacks is to spread fear and panic. We will not let that happen.”

Mr Stoltenberg vowed that the Norwegian people would respond to the attacks – a bomb blast in Oslo and a series of shootings at a youth camp on the earby island of Utoya on Friday – with greater openness and democracy, and said he believed the attacks would encourage Norwegians to become more involved in politics.

Read more: Norway's lost leaders

Breivik capture recalled

One police officer has spoken for the first time about the mission to arrest Breivik. He said said Breivik threw down his gun and put up his hands in surrender when they approached him on Utoya.

Jacob Bjertnaes said he and a colleague joined a special forces team of eight officers to stop the slaughter. The first police unit went towards the north end of the island, while the second realised the shooter was on the opposite side.

“Suddenly, the perpetrator stood in front of us with his hands high above his head,” Mr Bjertnaes said. “The weapon lay on the ground 15 metres away from him.”

Meanwhile, police have destroyed at least one explosives cache found at a farm rented by Breivik, who has admitted he carried out both atrocities.

Police have declined to estimate what quantities were found at the farm, but believe he made his bomb using fertiliser which he had bought under the cover that he was a farmer, and mixed the fertiliser, aspirin and other chemicals for three months before triggering the device outside government offices in central Oslo.

Police have released CCTV footage (below) of the blast taken in a shop near the detonation site.