|The Ikea store in Vasteras is closed today but a condolences|
book is available for distraught shoppers [Image Source]
Yesterday in an Ikea store in Sweden, just outside the capital, two people were knifed to death. We saw the initial reports and waited - in vain - for some indication of who, what, why? Nothing meaningful was reported for more than 24 hours about the perpetrator.
We were already aware from sources like a February 2015 NPR report ["Sweden's Immigrant Influx Unleashes A Backlash"] that ethnic tensions in Sweden have become "palpable".
Noiw an article in today's Washington Post fills in some of the gaps about Monday's events:
Ikea’s domestic idyll was shattered as two men entered a store in the central Swedish city of Vasteras and suddenly began attacking strangers with a knife. Surrounded by minimalist cabinets and stainless steel appliances, the unnamed assailants set upon the unwitting shoppers, killing a woman and her son. Ikea’s dollhouse had descended into a house of horror... Whatever the motive, the brutal attack quickly transformed the big box store into a bloody maze... [T]he combined effect has been to set the normally reserved Nordic country on edge. Immigration, in particular, has become a touchy subject in Sweden, a country that has long prided itself on its tolerance.Now, well into Tuesday afternoon, the killers have been identified.
Police have revealed that the two suspects accused of killing a mother and a son at an Ikea store in Västerås, north west of Stockholm, came from Eritrea... But Västerås police chief Per Ågren told reporters there were "no political overtones" in the investigation. Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva Moren also told Swedish media at the conference that the stabbings were unlikely to have had a political or personal motive. "At the moment there is nothing to suggest that there is any connection between the suspects and the victims." She confirmed that a knife had been used in the attack and said that police had found the suspected weapon... Police confirmed on Tuesday morning that they had arrested two people over the violence and said that both were from Eritrea. Officers told Swedish media that the youngest suspect, 23, had already been questioned but added that a second 35-year-old man linked to the attacks remained in hospital with life-threatening injuries. The suspects knew one another and were living at the same accommodation complex for asylum seekers, they added. Meanwhile police said that the shoppers who were stabbed to death at the Ikea store in the central Swedish town of Västerås on Monday were a mother and son, aged 55 and 28... ["Police: Ikea suspects are both asylum seekers", The Local (Sweden), August 11, 2015]AFP adds that the younger suspect
aged 23, has denied any involvement in the attacks. The other suspect, born in 1979, remained in hospital in critical condition and underwent a second operation on Tuesday for stab wounds. It was not known how he sustained his injuries... the two suspects resided in Arboga, some 50 kilometres from Vasteras. [AFP, today]The formulation adopted by the police really gets a person thinking: "but there were no political overtones... unlikely to have had a political or personal motive."
Lucky. No politics so all's cool.
The shoppers at the Västerås Ikea (population of 110,877, says Wikipedia) are stunned:
Leif Lindkvist, a customer who left flowers outside Ikea's entrance on Tuesday afternoon, told the TT news agency. "It's the least I can do. I can not believe that such a thing can happen. And at Ikea. I do not get it..." Police were continuing to surround the Ikea store on Tuesday afternoon and it was set to remain closed until further notice. Security has also been boosted at other retailers in the area to try to reassure shoppers... Officers have stepped up security in the area and at other refugee centres across the country in an attempt to avoid any potential backlash against the immigrant community." [The Local, today]So many questions. Just three immovable, undoubted facts. A mother is dead. And so is her son. And the authorities are certain they don't want any political repercussions.