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Woman sat on the same bus as terror suspect - tipped off police

Published fredag 20 november 2015 kl 12.47
"I recognized him clearly from the picture"
(4:29 min)
Foto: Robert Granström/TT
The suspect was arrested in the small village of Boliden in Northern Sweden. Photo: Robert Granström/TT

Sweden's Intelligence and Security Service Säpo has not disclosed how terror suspect Mutar Muthanna Majid was tracked down to an apartment in a village in Northern Sweden. But a resident of Boliden has told Swedish Radio that she tipped off the police, after recognising the wanted man's face from a newspaper she was reading when he stepped onto a bus, hours before the arrest.

She tells P4 Västerbotten that two men came onto the bus she was on and acted a little strange: "I did not think that they knew where they were going. They asked if the bus was going to Boliden and how much it cost."

She added that they did not seem to be able to really afford the fare and when the bus came into Boliden, they did not seem to know when to get off.

"That's when I saw the picture. I really recognised him, the foreign man and that's when I tipped off the police."

How could you be certain it was him?

"The contours of the image. The beard and the teeth. It's true to what I saw."

Sweden's national police commissioner, Dan Elisasson, says tips from the public are always helpful but says that it was a variety of sources that brought the police and Säpo to the refugee centre in Boliden.

"It's a combination of things that happen but the importance of public awareness and the information from the public should not be under estimated in cases like this," he tells Radio Sweden. 

Other residents in the small, snow covered village, spoke on Friday morning of their shock over the early evening police raid and the arrest of the terror suspect living in their midst.

"I feel concerned and worried," one person tells P4 Västerbotten. 

Police in Skellefteå, which is 30 kilometres from Boliden, formally arrested Mutar Muthanna Majid after initial questioning by the prosecutor Thursday evening.

Several residents of Boliden had told the Swedish tabloids that the man had been living in the area for several weeks, playing table tennis at the local church and seemed 'normal'.

"He lived in the apartment above me, he has lived there three to four weeks," said one of the suspected terrorist's neighbors to Aftonbladet.

Säpo Press Officer Fredrik Milder tells Swedish Radio News that the important thing right now is to get a picture of the suspect's movements during his time in Sweden and that they welcomed tips from the public.

National police commissioner Dan Elisasson confirmed that several people were taken in for questioning from the police raid, but that did not mean that they were involved.

"I can confirm that quite a few people have been taken in for interrogation but this is standrad procedure in cases like this. We want to find out more information about the suspected terrorist but also whether there is anyone else who coule be helping him," he says to Radio Sweden.

Sweden's defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, tells tabloid Expressen that Säpo is hunting more terror suspects.

Home affairs minister Anders Ygeman, who is in Brussels for a meeting with his European counterparts about the terror attack in Paris, said that he was 'obviously relieved that a person has been arrested' but the national threat level of 4 remains at the same high level.

"We have a serious situation in Sweden," he said. "We should not ignore it. We must continue to take steps that we can live in a safe and free Sweden," he tells Swedish Radio News.

Several sources told TT that the terrorist plans were revealed when encrypted communication between Sweden and the Middle East displayed a pattern that set off warning flags across European security services, who shared the information with Sweden.

(The 22-year-old was later released and freed from all suspicion).

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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