President Mohamed Nasheed has sent a message of sympathy to His Majesty King Harald V of Norway, after a bomb attack in Oslo and a shooting rampage on Utoeya Island killed 92 people on Friday.
Norwegian police have since arrested 32 year-old right-wing anti-Islam fanatic Anders Behring Breivik, as the country comes to terms with its worst attack since World War II and the single worst attack by a lone gunman.
85 of the casualties were young people attending the annual summer camp for the youth wing of Norway’s ruling Labour party.
One of the survivors told news agency Reuters that the gunman was dressed as a policeman and “would tell people to come over: ‘It’s OK, you’re safe, we’re coming to help you.’ And then I saw about 20 people come toward him and he shot them at close range.”
Another survivor told media that Breivik “seemed very focused. He took his time and picked victims out one by one. People lay on the ground, and he went over them and shot them in the back. He shot them all twice to make sure they were dead.”
Breivik had undergone compulsory military training as part of Norway’s national service and held licenses for several firearms, including automatic weapons. He surrendered to armed police who arrived at the Utoeya Island camp 40 minutes after being called by panicked attendees.
Police are investigating whether the car bomb, which exploded outside government offices in Oslo, was linked to Brevik’s purchase of six tons of fertiliser for a farm he bought 10 weeks ago.
Al-jazeera reported that under Norwegian law, Breivik faces a maximum sentence of 21 years extendable indefinitely in five year increments.
Norway has meanwhile entered a period of national mourning.
“This is beyond comprehension. It’s a nightmare,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told press in Oslo.
In his letter to the Norwegian King, President Nasheed said he was “deeply shocked and saddened to hear about the bomb attack on government buildings in Oslo and the subsequent shooting on Utoeya Island. The Government and the people of the Maldives and I condemn this wanton act of terror in the strongest terms. At this time of distress I extend my profound sympathy and support to Your Majesty, the Government and the people of Norway.”