22 Jul 2021

Norway terror attack: Survivor says he’s realised how ‘precious life’ is 10 years on

A lawyer who witnessed the massacre of dozens of young people by far-right extremist Anders Breivik says the experience has made him realise how “precious life” is.

On Thursday, Norway marked 10 years since Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo killing eight people before driving to Utøya Island and shooting dead 69 people at a Labour Party youth camp. Many of the victims were teenagers.

Samuel Muyizzi was on the island in 2011 speaking to the camp about racism as someone who had experienced human rights abuses in his country of birth Uganda.

He told Channel 4 News on the anniversary of the attack: “I think about life differently since that day. It has guided my life. I actually know better how precious life can be.”

Breivik, 42, is serving a 21-year sentence, which can be prolonged indefinitely if he is deemed a continued threat to society.

The mass-murder sparked a debate in Norway and beyond about the scale of the threat right-wing extremism poses.

Mr Muyizzi said: “I believe [there is] much more that needs to be done, especially in the Western world, in how to tackle right-wing extremists, balancing it with the rights of freedom of expression.”

He added: “I see a shift in the last few years in the debate about what actually happened and the reality about what’s happening.

“I think the tone is now different from what it was at inception. I think they have accepted that there is a problem. And it needs to be dealt with, socially and politically, and that is a big thing.”

Ten years ago, Mr Muyizzi spoke to Channel 4 News in the wake of the attack.

He said at the time that he hid up a tree to escape Breivik and from there he watched the horror unfold below him.

He said: “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.”