Human drama behind Torshov murder

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Police initially thought they had a teenage murder on their hands. Now it appears the victim was much older, but his death in a public housing project in Oslo’s Torshov district last week still meant the end of a relatively short and dramatic life.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) issued several reports last Thursday citing police information about another murder in the capital. This time, “a 17-year-old boy” was found shot in the head in the entryway of a city-owned apartment building. He was rushed to Ullevål Hospital but doctors couldn’t save his life.

Police said the shooting looked like “an execution” and newspaper Aftenposten sought more information about the victim. Police believed he came from Gambia, in western Africa, and Aftenposten tracked down other men from Gambia who were acquainted with him. They also thought he was “a boy,” who was a fan of football club Manchester United and bought a pizza after winning a small wager on a match last Wednesday. He was gunned down shortly thereafter.

It’s since been determined that the victim was 28 years old, not 17, and used various identities. He sought asylum in Norway in October of last year, but no one is sure how or why he came to Norway.

Calls to Gambia indicate that he left the poverty of his country in late 2007. He reportedly sailed in an open boat, eventually arriving in Spain. His family told Aftenposten he called once from Spain and another time from Switzerland. Then from Oslo, where he told his uncle Modou Lamin Susso that he hoped to get a job and permanent residence permission and then come home for a visit.

Instead his long journey north from Africa to Scandinavia ended inside a public housing project that’s been the scene of several murders in recent years.

Police were holding a 33-year-old man from Somalia who turned himself in Friday in connection with the shooting, but released him on Monday. Police are unsure about the motive for the shooting.

Views and News from Norway/
Nina Berglund
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