|Survivors have told of children watching their parents gunned down during the 90-minute attack [Reuters]|
Though Anders Breivik’s guilt has yet to be legally established, the 32-year-old Norwegian man and apparent right-wing extremist has admitted that he is responsible for the bombing that killed seven people in central Oslo and the subsequent shooting spree that killed at least 86 mostly young political activists at a summer camp on nearby Utoya Island.
In the wake of the attack, various sources – including the prime minister, newspapers and public broadcaster NRK – have identified some of those whom Breivik has confessed to killing or wounding during his roughly 90-minute rampage on Utoya.
Among the dead and missing are a 21-year-old rising star in the Labour Party’s youth wing, a 45-year-old camp administrator known as “Mother Utoya” and a 51-year-old volunteer guard who tried to confront the shooter.
‘One of our most talented’
Tore Eikeland, 21, came from Hordaland County in southwestern Norway and was a rising star in the Workers’ Youth League, an organisation for young activists and a proving ground for the future elite of the Labour Party.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, himself a member of Labour who spent time on Utoya in his youth, called Eikeland “one of our most talented youth politicians” in a memorial address for the victims at Oslo Cathedral on Sunday.
“I remember he got the whole party congress to cheer when he took an engaged stance against the [European Union’s] mail directive and won,” Stoltenberg recalled. “Now he is dead. Gone forever. It’s hard to understand.”
|Eikeland speaks to a Labour Party rally earlier this year [Arbeiderpartiet]|
Kari Aakre Foseid, a Labour mayor in Osteroy, called Eikeland “an honourable man … one of the most solid young people I have met”.
Others gave their respects to Eikeland on Twitter, calling him a “dear friend” and “sympathetic and highly skilled … political youth”.
Some recalled Eikeland’s deep loyalty to the Newcastle football club in England. In the smaller community of Norwegian Newcastle fans, he was known as a prolific supporter. On NewUtd.no, a website for Norwegian fans, a memorial post recalled how he had contributed “a host of news, articles and ideas” to the site.
“There are no words … that can describe this tragedy,” the post said. “It is so incredibly sad and sick that one madman could deprive … young people [of] their lives with a senseless act of terrorism.”
Meeting Breivik on the ferry
Monica Bosei, 45, had organised the Labour youth camp on the island for years, earning her the nickname “Mother Utoya”.
According to an eyewitness, she was on the ferry that Breivik took to the island.
Earl Sandbakken, the 19-year-old deputy chairman of the Labour party in the city of Baerum, took the ferry and watched as Bosei engaged Breivik in conversation. She had heard about the bombing in Oslo and was asking questions of Breivik, who was wearing a police uniform.
“At the beginning he stood there with a stiff back and intimated that he wouldn’t say much,” Sandbakken said. “But I could see in his eyes that it was a conversation he wasn’t comfortable with.”
Bosei was suspicious. When the ferry arrived at Utoya, she walked directly to the main house and spoke with Trond Berntsen, a former policeman who was working as a guard at the camp. She probably wanted to share her suspicions, Sandbakken said.
Breivik trailed Bosei. He saw what was happening, took out a gun and fatally shot both, his first victims on the island, Sandbakken said.
Jon Olsen, Bosei’s partner, saw Breivik shoot Bosei. Bosei’s 16-year-old daughter and her friend were also present. Olsen rushed Bosei’s daughter to safety, but Breivik shot the friend.
Royal stepbrother confronted Breivik
Trond Berntsen, 51, was a ex-police officer who had worked in an immigration unit and, earlier, in the drugs section of the Upper Spokes sheriff’s office.
He was also the stepbrother to Crown Princess Mette-Marit, whose mother had married Berntsen’s father in 1994. Berntsen and his brother had quarrelled with Mett-Marit’s mother over their father’s inheritance after his death in 2008.
Berntsen reportedly had served as an unarmed guard at Utoya several times before, and the program distributed before the youth summer camp had said there would be police on the island.
Police confirmed that a former officer had been present on the island, but said he did not have a weapon or body armour.
After Bosei approached with her suspicions of Breivik, Berntsen, a former champion boxer, apparently decided to confront the man. The exact timing of events in unclear, but Berntsen reportedly “threw” his son to safety before walking directly toward Breivik.
Breivik then shot and killed Berntsen.
Colleagues interviewed by the TV2 television channel described Berntsen as “fearless, honest … and fair”.
Surviving one shooting, witnessing another
Adrian Pracon dove into the water with other campers when he first heard the shooting start. He did not have time to remove his heavy boots and clothes. After swimming about 100 metres, he realised he couldn’t make it to the other shore and turned back.
As he neared the island, Breivik emerged from the woods, shouting, “Everyone must die! It is their turn to die today!” He opened fire on the swimmers. Some of Pracon’s companions were shot, and Pracon was hit in the shoulder.
Pracon cried out at Breivik not to shoot him.
“Then he stood and took aim at me. He looked at me a long time, and considered it.”
In the end, Breivik didn’t fire.
Pracon laid down, pretending to be dead. An 11-year-old boy approached and told Pracon that his father had been killed. Then he moved on. As Pracon lay, he could hear the boy approach Breivik.
“Do not shoot me … You have killed my dad. I’m too young to die. Let us be.”
Pracon saw the boy later on the mainland, alive.
Sources: Verdens Gang, TV2, NRK