Norwegian police said the man arrested in connection with Friday’s deadly bombing in Oslo and shooting on a small island is cooperating to some extent with authorities. But they added that their investigation into the attacks, which left 92 dead and a swath of downtown Oslo shattered, is slow going.
“He is willing to cooperate with police in some certain limits,” deputy chief of Oslo police Sveinung Sponheim said at a news conference today. “On some main points, it’s very difficult," he added, noting that the suspect was unwilling to make a statement as to whether he acted alone.
Police arrested Norwegian national Anders Behring Breivik Friday evening on the island of Utoya, where he killed 85 people after opening fire on a summer youth camp organized by the ruling Norwegian Labor party.
Mr. Breivik drove a car from Oslo west to Utoya, where he then boarded a boat to the small island, full of hundreds of campers. He was wearing a police sweater bearing an emblem on the shoulder, misleading campers into thinking he was an officer.
Sponheim said police were still investigating as to how Breivik obtained the sweater and stressed that he had no connection with police or the Norwegian armed forces.
When confronted by officers, Sponheim said Breivik laid down his weapons – a pistol and an automatic weapon – and surrendered without a fight.
“The police shouted to him and told him to lay down the weapons,” Sponheim said. “We don’t know [why he surrendered]. That’s part of the investigation.”
Though officials provided more information on how the 32-year-old Oslo resident likely carried out the twin attacks, they again declined to comment on any motive behind the massive bombing and shooting spree that killed many young people and has profoundly rocked Norway. They did not comment on any connections Breivik might have to right-wing organizations or on any previous criminal record, but did confirm that he had no history of mental illness.
Internet postings by Breivik suggest his politics leaned sharply toward the right, and he expressed an antipathy to multiculturalism as well as anti-Muslim views.
According to Expo, a Swedish group that monitors far-right activity, Breivik was a member of a Swedish neo-Nazi internet forum. He was also once a member of the Norwegian right-wing Progress Party, though members of the party said he was not active and was removed from the party’s member list in 2006.
Officers searched both Breivik’s apartment, which he shared with his mother, as well as a small farm he owned where he grew vegetables. Though nothing of interest was found in the apartment, Sponheim said, investigators recovered roughly 45,000 kilograms (about 100,000 lbs.) of powder fertilizer at the farm.
Police interviewed his mother but declined to comment on what she told investigators.
Breivik is expected to appear Monday in court, where Sponheim said police will request more time from the judge to continue their investigation.
The government quarters struck by the blast remained cordoned off today as workers swept up broken glass and boarded up shattered windows. Norwegians and tourists alike stood in the light rain snapping pictures of damage and soldiers guarding the entrance.
Many left flowers and lit candles around the cordon and the nearby Oslo Cathedral with one memorial spelling out “We (heart) Oslo” in tea candles.