Two men and a woman have been killed in Western Norway after a man wielding a knife hijacked the express bus they were travelling on.
The man in his 30s, from South Sudan, was arrested at just before 7pm Norwegian time. He was flown to hospital in Bergen where he was being treated for injuries sustained during the hijack.
Trine Erdal, a spokesperson for Norwegian police said that she could not yet give details on the hijacker’s state of mind or his likely motive.
Police said that there were only three people on the bus at the time of the attack–the 50-year old driver, a Swedish citizen also in his 50s and a 19 year old Norwegian girl–and that the hijacker killed all of them.
The 31-year-old killer is from southern Sudan but is currently living in Årdal, the small Norwegian town where the hijack took place.
Oslo police also confirmed they called off the deployment of an anti-terror unit after the suspect had been arrested.
The emergency services were notified at 5.30pm when they received reports of a traffic accident involving a bus.
Shortly after the fire services arrived, though, they realised there was a man inside the overturned bus brandishing a weapon.
“It was impossible to open the door, but then we saw that there was a dark-skinned person moving around inside the bus,” the first fireman on the scene told Norway’s TV2 channel.
“We initially thought he trying to get out. Then we noticed that he was brandishing a knife and realised that the situation was quite different.”
According to police, the man gave himself up to firemen without a fight, having thrown the knife into the bus behind him.
“The person came out voluntarily from the bus and was arrested by firefighters. He had already thrown down the knife from inside the bus,” Magne Knutsen from the Ardal police told VG.
The hijacked bus, the Valdres Express, was making its four-hour journey the mountainous Valdres region, which is popular for skiing, back to Oslo.
Police sealed off the surrounding area and are searching it to make certain that the man they have arrested operated alone.
The attack marks the second time the express bus between the towns of Aardal and Tyin has been hijacked. In 2003, a mentally disturbed 26-year-old Ethiopian man seized the bus and stabbed the driver to death.
“This is terrible. It is the second time such a tragedy has happened to the Valdres Express,” said Bjørn Ragnar Ostbye, chief executive of Nor-Way Express Buses, which operated the bus.
“It is cruel that such things can happen,” Arild Ingar Laegreid, the mayor of the local town of Årdal said. “The most important thing now is to take care of the families.”