4TH LEAD

91 killed in Norway, Tamil politician escapes massacre

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 July 2011, 20:38 GMT]
At least four Eezham Tamil youths, including a politician of the ruling Labour Party of Norway, Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, were amongst those who escaped the indiscriminate shooting by a lone gunman at the summer camp of the youth wing of the party (AUF) on Friday. The attack killed at least 84 people. A short-while before the gunman struck at the camp held at Utøya island, a bomb blast ripped through the political enclave of central Oslo, killing at least seven people and injuring many more in the locality where government offices and ministries including the Prime Minister's Office are located. Oslo police are questioning a 32-year-old ethnic Norwegian man, who is reportedly a right-wing extremist, in connection with both the attacks, described by Norwegian media as the worst episode of violence in the country since World War II.

There were several hundred youths, mainly teenagers, and AUF activists in the camp at the time of the attack. Some of them fled the scene by swimming away from the island, which is located in a lake. The nearest bank of the lake was 500 yards away.

Amongst those who escaped was 23-year-old Khamshajiny, a former leader of the AUF in Oslo. She was elected to the civic council of Oslo in 2007.

According to her Facebook message, she and another politician swam from the island to escape the firing and were rescued by a boat.

Another Norwegian Eezham Tamil girl, 16-year-old Kavitiraa Aravinthan, also escaped the scene by swimming over to the other side.

Children from the age of 12 were also in the summer camp where various global issues were taken up for lectures, a Tamil youth, Jathursan Kandiah, who escaped the massacre told TamilNet Saturday.

A tall blond man dressed in police uniform gained access to the youth camp claiming that he had come in connection to the bomb blast in Olso city 90 minutes earlier, and had started firing indiscriminately with an automatic weapon, Norwegian press reports said.

The suspect being held in connection with both attacks has been named in Norwegian television reports as Anders Behring Breivik. Speaking anonymously, police officials said that he appeared to have acted alone in both the attacks.

Meanwhile, Norwegian media reports on Saturday said that the suspect belongs to extreme right.

The suspect has described himself as a conservative and Christian, Aftenposten reported Saturday, citing descriptions on the Internet. The paper further said it had information that the suspect is a member of Freemasonry.


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