It has been a little more than 24-hours since the stabbing spree at the IKEA store in Vasteras, Sweden. As is so often the case, the initial reports were incomplete or wrong. In this case it turns out that there were two assailants, both of whom are in custody.
From the Washington Post:
“The younger man was arrested at the shopping center where the stabbing took place, she said. The older man was initially thought to be a victim and taken to a local hospital. Thanks to witness statements, however, he was later identified as the second suspect and placed under arrest. He remains in the hospital in serious condition and has not yet been interviewed by authorities, Holmgren said.
The motive of the attack remained a mystery Tuesday morning…
…“We are currently looking into the motive but right now all we can say is that there is no obvious political or religious motive,” Holmgren told The Post. “Nothing points in that direction but it is still early in the investigation.”
She added that Vasteras police have been deployed to refugee homes around the city to prevent any possible retaliatory attacks against asylum-seekers.”
It turns out that the men were asylum seekers from Eritrea, a breakaway province of Ethiopia. Eritrea is also the population center for Ethiopia’s Islamic minority.
When one person goes on a killing spree, it is completely plausible that the individual is suffering from mental illness – even if they shout racist platitudes during the event. When two people go on a killing spree, it suggests a higher level of premeditation and a more complicated motive.
While I cannot claim clairvoyance or the ability to read the minds of the perpetrators, and I have no proof as to motive, I am skeptical when Swedish authorities so casually dismiss a terrorist link. The country has a massive immigration problem, yet continues to willfully act as if there is no issue at all.
It is no different in England where they claim to have a knife violence problem, when it is really a problem of unassimilated Muslim youth. It will be interesting to see if the Swedish authorities stand by their story, or if they will be forced to recant in the face of overwhelming evidence.
The first time I heard of Eritrea was in 1998 when I was doing Archaeological field work in Kenya, about 25km south of the Ethipoian border. We would listen to the BBC World Service on the short wave radio, and I remember hearing an emergency broadcast to all Commonwealth citizens in Eritrea. They were to report to the Consulate for evacuation. Fighting had broken out between Ethiopian forces and Eritrean separatists, and the situation was deteriorating.
It made me realize just what a force the BBC was on short wave radio. It really was the lifeline for citizens in far flung corners of the empire. It stood in clear contrast with the propaganda broadcasts of Voice of America. The taxpayer funded boondoggle was virtually impossible to listen to. All I wanted was baseball scores, and it was clear that unlike the Beeb, “world service” was not at all VOAs goal.