The attack took place in several locations in the town centre of Kongsberg at around 6:30 pm

Oslo (AFP) - A man armed with a bow and arrows killed several people and wounded others in southeastern Norway on Wednesday, police said, adding that they had arrested the suspect.

The motive for the attack, which took place in several locations in the town centre of Kongsberg, was not yet known, but police said terrorism could not yet be ruled out.

“We can unfortunately confirm that there are several injured and also unfortunately several killed in this episode,” local police official Oyvind Aas told a news conference.

“The man who committed this act has been arrested by the police and, according to our information, there is only one person involved.”

Police said the suspect had been taken to a police station in the nearby town of Drammen but gave no other details about the man.

“There is no active search for other people,” Aas said.

At a later press briefing, Aas said that “given how events unfolded, it is natural to assess whether this is a terrorist attack”.

“The arrested man has not been interviewed and it is too early to say anything about his motives,” he said, adding that “all possibilities were open”.

An arrow sticking out of a wall in Kongsberg following the attack

Norway’s intelligence service PST had been alerted, spokesman Martin Bernsen told AFP.

“It is all conjecture at the moment,” he said when asked about the possibility of a terrorist motive.

The TV2 station reported that the man also had a knife or other weapons.

The wounded have been taken to hospital. However, police have not said how many people were hurt or given details of their condition.

The attack started shortly before 6:30 pm (1600 GMT) and was described as covering a large part of Kongsberg. The suspect was arrested at 6:47 pm, police said.

- Arrow sticking in wall -

Police urged the public to stay at home and several neighbourhoods were cordoned off, with television footage showing ambulances and armed police in the area

Police urged the public to stay at home and several neighbourhoods were cordoned off, with television footage showing ambulances and armed police in the area.

Police in the Scandinavian country are not normally armed, but after the attack the National Police Directorate ordered that officers be armed nationwide.

A helicopter and bomb disposal team were also sent to the scene.

The website of public broadcaster NRK published an image sent by a witness of a black arrow sticking out of a wall.

Norway has traditionally been a peaceful nation but has suffered far-right attacks.

Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik carried out twin attacks that killed 77 people on July 22, 2011.

Breivik first set off a bomb in the capital Oslo next to the building that housed the office of the prime minister, then went on a shooting spree at a summer camp for left-wing youths on the island of Utoya.

A map locating Kongsberg, Norway

In August 2019, self-proclaimed neo-Nazi Philip Manshaus opened fire into a mosque on the outskirts of Oslo before being overpowered by worshippers, with no one being seriously injured.

However, he had earlier shot dead his step-sister, who had been adopted from China, in what prosecutors termed a “racist act”.

Several planned jihadist attacks have also been foiled by security services.