Bomb scare at university, guard shot

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UPDATED: Police cordoned off a large area of the campus of the University of Oslo at Blindern in Oslo Wednesday morning and called in specialists to examine an object feared to be a bomb. The major operation was unfolding after a security guard was shot in the same area during the night.

The guard had encountered two men near the physics building of the sprawling university campus during one of his regular partrols at 2:45am. Police told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that when the guard approached the two men, they refused to talk to him and ran off.

One of the two fleeing men, however, turned and fired what police said were around four or five shots at the security guard, one of which hit him in the chest. He was wearing protective gear, however, and was not seriously injured.

Investigation launched in pouring rain
The guard himself was able to call police, who immediately launched an investigation in the pouring rain that drenched Oslo and much of southern Norway during the night. NRK, which is headquartered adjacent to the portions of the campus cordoned off Wednesday morning, reported that the guard was taken to hospital where his injuries were described as minor.

When police started searching for the two men they found the suspicious object believed to be a bomb. “We have cordoned off the area (at the southwest end of the campus) and the bomb group has begun their work,” Vidar Pedersen, operations leader for the Oslo Police District, told NRK. “They will approach the object at their own tempo.”

The area extending around the physics and chemistry buildings at the Blindern campus was secured both to give the bomb squad room to work and to prevent possible injuries.

Calling for tips from the public
Police claimed it was too early to say whether there is a direct link between the shooting during the night and the discovery of the suspected bomb, but weren’t ruling it out. They were calling for tips from anyone who may have seen either of the two men in the vicinity of the university around 3am.

The man who shot the guard was described as thin, around 175 centimeters in height with light skin and wearing a red cap, black jacket and grey shoes. He reportedly spoke English.

The University of Oslo is relatively quiet at this time of year before the start of the fall session later this month. University director Gunn Elin Bjørnebøe said the university’s own preparedness team was called in and was working closely with police Wednesday morning.

Police couldn’t say how long their investigation and the restricted access to university buildings would last. The physics building, chemistry building and a third building in the area were cordoned off. Bjørneboe said they contained laboratories, study rooms and offices. “There are chemicals there and there’s always a danger tied to chemicals,” she said.

For more on the story as it developed, click here.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund