Monday 23 October 2017

'I just ran . . . it was like a group of sheep running from a dog'

David MacDougall

THREE survivors of the bombing and shooting spree that left 77 people dead in Norway have told their stories.

The Barzingi siblings, who were on the island to attend a political youth retreat, are Iraqi Kurds who came to Norway 12 years ago.

Hana Barzingi, a 17-year-old full-time student, explains what happened on that day.

"When I heard the shooting, I thought it was a joke. Then me and my friend stood up and I went to the window. There I saw a man. Blond hair, blue eyes, with iPod headset, earplugs, and he had a big sniper (gun) I think. And then I said, 'What the hell are you doing?' because I didn't know what was going to happen or where he (the shooter) was. So he just turned around and said to me, 'Have you heard where the shooting is coming from?' And I said,'To the left' and when I said it I just looked to the left and I saw two people already lying there dead. And so he said to me 'I'm a cop and I will get you guys a place where is safe and I just have to gather everyone so it could be easier for me to protect you.'

"When he said that I think someone heard it because someone ran out. And he just took up the gun and shot the person.

"Actually, he talked like he was all calmed down. And then when he shot the person he just turned around softly and just looked at me. Then I was in shock and I just grabbed my friend's arm and pulled her down. And then I heard the shooting was coming inside. So he started to come into the house. And I just ran. It was like a group of sheep, like running from a dog or something. People were falling down. Nobody cared, they just ran for their life . . ."

Hana's sister, Hajin, (19), also a full-time student, said of her ordeal: "I remember I was at the phone with my sister to give her a warning about Oslo and then when she got off the phone the shooting started. I thought it was someone just playing with some balloons or something. But then several people ran into the little room where I was, crying and shouting out, 'There's someone out there shooting at people.'

"And then the shooting came closer and closer, and then I understood this was serious. So I went to the hall looking for these two (points at her brother and sister). But I couldn't find them, so I thought they were hiding somewhere safe, so I should do that too. So I ran into the toilet nearby. There were two guys there. Then a lady from Uganda ran in too, and lay down on the floor because she was pregnant. So we closed the door and tried to be quiet.

"Many people say that Norwegian people are cold-hearted. I just want to tell everybody that Norwegian people are warm-hearted. And as you see how Norway has taken this situation; everyone cares."

Dana Barzingi, the girls' 21-year-old brother who is an electrician, gives his account: "I didn't know what to do. I just ran around the island and I was looking for them (nods at sisters). And I picked up wounded people on the way. I brought them to a safe place and I just went and looked for them (nods again at sisters), until the police took me and thought I was a terrorist."

On friends who died he says:

"They were great people. They didn't care if you were white, black, yellow or whatever. So, we miss them, but . . . there are no words."

Irish Independent

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