Norway massacre survivors recall horror of attacks

Several hundred survivors of the shooting spree by a right-wing extremist on an island near Oslo were to make their first return on Saturday to the site where 69 mainly young people were killed in cold blood.

Norwegian security services, who organised the painful visit, said 750 people — survivors and relatives or close friends — showed up for the visit to Utoeya island where Anders Behring Breivik opened fire at a summer camp for members of the youth wing of Norway’s ruling Labour Party.

“I know this is going to be a very difficult day to live but I also know this is necessary to lighten my burden in the future,” said Adrian Pracon, 21, who was hit but survived the killer’s bullets on July 22.

Pracon crossed paths with Breivik twice that day on the tiny, heart-shaped island. The young man had thrown himself into the water fully dressed but turned back, realising he couldn’t swim all the way to the mainland.

“When I got back to the bank, he was there, five or 10 metres from me, firing on others trying to swim away. He turned around and pointed his gun at me,” he said.

“I was exhausted; all I managed to say was ‘don’t shoot’. He seemed to stop and think for a moment then he left,” Pracon said.

‘Played dead’
His second encounter with the killer came a few minutes later, at almost the same spot where several other young people had gathered.

“I laid down and played dead. He shot at me to make sure I was indeed dead. I think he aimed at my head but he missed me and I was hit in the shoulder,” he recalled.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was also expected to join the survivors on the island, where a huge team of doctors, psychiatrists, and both Christian and Muslim clergy were on hand to give support.

On Friday, around 500 relatives of victims also gathered for their first visit to the island, which lies some 40km northwest of Oslo, as Behring Breivik made his second court appearance in the capital.

Earlier on July 22, Behring Breivik had set off a car bomb outside government offices in Oslo which killed another eight people to provide a distraction as he ran amok on Utoeya.

The 32-year-old confessed to both attacks, saying he was engaged in a crusade against multiculturalism and Muslim immigration. — AFP


Stay in China, government tells homesick South Africans

As ‘impisoned’ children at epicentre cry to be reunited with their parents, top official says families mustn’t be ungrateful

Cradock Four back to haunt De Klerk

Pressure is mounting on the NPA to charge the former president and others involved in political killings during apartheid

Ramaphosa makes peace with Malema over gender-based violence comments

In his Sona response, the president apologised for the weaponising of gender-based violence, saying the attack on the red beret leader was "uncalled for"

Steenhuisen takes the lead in DA race while Ntuli falters

‘If you want a guarantee buy a toaster. This is politics’

Press Releases

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.

NWU student receives international award

Carol-Mari Schulz received the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Hygiene Top Achiever Award.

Academic programme resumes at all campuses

Lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials will all resume today as per specific academic timetables.

Strategic social investments are a catalyst for social progress

Barloworld Mbewu enables beneficiaries to move away from dependence on grant funding

We all have a part to play to make South Africa work

Powering societal progress demands partnerships between all stakeholders

So you want to be a social entrepreneur?

Do the research first; it will save money and time later

Social entrepreneurship means business

Enterprises with a cause at their core might be exactly what our economy desperately needs

Looking inwards

Businesses are finding tangible ways to give back – but only because consumers demand it