Norway bow and arrow attack: At least five people killed in Kongsberg

At least five people were killed and others injured by a man using a bow and arrows to carry out attacks in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg on Wednesday, police said.

Local media reported that the attacker opened fire in a Coop Extra supermarket on the western side of the town, after which residents were ordered to stay indoors and large areas were cordoned off.

Police said that the attacks took place over “a large area” and encompassed “several crime scenes” across the town, a municipality of around 28,000 people approximately 10 miles from Oslo in southeastern Norway.

According to police, the suspect walked around downtown Kongsberg shooting arrows.

Kongsberg’s police chief said there was “a confrontation” between officers and the assailant, but he did not elaborate.

Two other people were wounded and hospitalised in intensive care, including an officer who was off duty and inside the shop where the attack took place, police said.

“Several people have been injured and several are dead,” police chief Oeyvind Aas said. He declined to comment on the number of casualties, but local broadcaster NRK put the death toll at five.

Acting Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the attack as “gruesome” and said it was too early to speculate on a motive. She told a news conference on Wednesday night that police were in control of the situation.

The prime minister-designate, Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is expected to take office on Thursday, called the assault “a cruel and brutal act” in comments to Norwegian news agency NTB.

The wounded were taken to hospital, but police have not yet released details about their condition.

“The reports coming from Kongsberg tonight are horrifying,” Ms Solberg told a news conference.

“I understand that many people are afraid, but it’s important to emphasise that the police are now in control.”

Police said that a suspect had been detained and taken to a police station in the nearby town of Drammen. Mr Aas said police are not searching for other people in relation to the attack.

The TV2 station reported that the man also had a knife or other weapons.

“The man has been apprehended… from the information we now have, this person carried out these actions alone,” Mr Aas said.

Mr Aas declined to comment on reports that the man used a crossbow, saying only there were “several crime scenes”.

The police chief stated that the motivation for the attack was not yet known, while a police spokesman confirmed they will investigate whether the attack was an “act of terrorism”.

Local media reported a large emergency operation in the city, involving armed police, two helicopters and more than 10 ambulances.

Police said they were alerted to the attack at 6.15pm local time and arrested the suspect about 30 minutes later.

The alleged attacker has not been questioned yet, Mr Aas said.

Norway’s domestic security agency PST was informed of the assault.

Town officials invited people who were affected by the attack and their relatives to gather for support at a local hotel.

Kari Anne, the town mayor, said: “This is a gruesome incident, there is nothing else to say. Now we must try to take care of the inhabitants as best we can.”

Harald Kristiansen, a Coop spokesperson, told NRK there had been “a serious incident in our store” but none of its employees had been injured.

“We are providing assistance to our colleagues and helping police with their investigation,” he said.

Following the attacks, the police directorate said it had immediately ordered officers nationwide to carry firearms. Norwegian police are normally unarmed, but officers have access to guns and rifles when needed.

“This is an extra precaution. The police have no indication so far that there is a change in the national threat level,” the directorate said.

Norway has traditionally been a peaceful nation, but has suffered far-right attacks in recent years. Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik carried out twin attacks that killed 77 people in 2011.

Breivik first set off a bomb in Oslo next to the building that housed the office of the prime minister, before going on a shooting spree at a summer camp for left-wing youths on the island of Utoya.

In August 2019, self-proclaimed neo-Nazi Philip Manshaus opened fire in a mosque on the outskirts of Oslo before being overpowered by worshippers, with no one being seriously injured.

Several planned jihadist attacks have also been foiled by security services.

However, Norway has one of the world’s lowest crime rates. Last year Norwegian police used or threatened to use weapons only 28 times, according to the Justice Ministry.

Earlier this year Professor Nils Christie, a criminology expert at the University of Oslo, said: “Norway is at the bottom of the list of violent crimes per capita. Our biggest crime problem is the unfounded anxiety people feel about it.”

The risk of being murdered is nine times higher in the United States than it is in Norway.