Press flocks to Utøya island massacre site

A macabre tour of Utøya Island, where 69 teenagers were maniacally gunned down in July, has been arranged by the decimated Labour Party for the foreign and domestic press corps.

Over 180 journalists from 44 news outlets will disembark on the island camp. The conifer-covered island became a nightmare confine trampled by gunman Anders Behring Breivik, as he hunted and killed as many defenseless teenage activists and their minders as possible.

Many journalists face demands from their employers to find out all the details.

“How big is the island? How steep was it where the teenagers got themselves down to the water? What types of buildings are on the island? All of this lends insight when you continue to write about this going forward,” broadcaster NRK reported Swedish journalist Björn Lindahl saying.

Until, now the press had largely observed the wishes of Young Labour that Utøya be left unvisited by the press so victims’ families could seek some sort of closure there. Only two tours of the island have been allowed by state security and police still scouring the scene of the mass murder.

The mostly teenage victims had run terrified into every nook of the island in search of shelter from the rampaging Breivik. Some were gunned down at point blank range as they contemplated swimming away in the icy Tyrifjord water. Others survived through being covered by victims who received mortal gunshot wounds before slumping on top of them or into the water.

Utøya is crammed with murder sites: from the boat launch, where Breivik reportedly shot dead two adult minders suspicious of his police surplus and speech, to a large wooden reception house and canteen where he killed all whom he saw, while others leapt from windows.

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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.