A Norwegian neo-Nazi and Anders Breivik sympathiser was arrested in France on Tuesday over fears he may have been preparing a “major terrorist act”, the interior ministry said. Kristian Vikernes was taken into custody with his French wife.
A neo-Nazi linked to Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was arrested in southwestern France on Tuesday after investigators decided he might stage a large “terrorist act” almost two years to the day that Breivik killed 77 people in Oslo.
Kristian Vikernes, who is a well-known black metal musician in Norway, where he goes by the name of “Varg”, received a copy of a manifesto from Breivik before the far-right militant staged a brutal massacre on July 22, 2011.
According to French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, 40-year-old Vikernes could have been preparing a “major terrorist act”.
“Having received the manifesto before [Breivik] committed his crimes and having been sentenced in Norway in the past for murder, this individual, who was close to a neo-Nazi movement, was likely to prepare a large terrorist act,” Valls said in a statement.
Vikernes, who was convicted in 1994 of stabbing a rival musician to death in Oslo and sentenced to 21 years in prison, had been under surveillance for several years, Valls said. He was arrested with his French wife Marie Cachet after she recently bought four rifles.
Cachet, 25, had a legal firearms permit when she bought the four rifles, the official said.
“The investigation will notably establish the conditions in which these [rifles] were acquired and their real objective,” Valls said.
Officers were searching his home in Corrèze for weapons and explosives, a police source told Reuters.
Breivik ‘a Christian loser’
Anders Breivik was imprisoned for a maximum term of 21 years in 2012 for killing 77 people in a bombing in central Oslo and a shooting spree on a nearby island. His 1,500-page manifesto outlined his planned crusade against Muslims, who he said were taking over Europe and could only be defeated through a violent civil war.
On his website, Vikernes discusses Breivik’s manifesto, but in a post called “War in Europe: Part V – Breivik Unveiled” he also criticises the murderer for killing more innocent Norwegians than Muslims.
Vikernes describes himself as a “pagan” and accuses Breivik of being a Zionist agent and “Christian loser”.
“If you, dear European nationalists, really want to save Europe (as a biological term) you have to realise that the only thing to do is to cast aside all Christian other international nonsense and embrace only the European (i.e. Pagan) values and ideals and if you like the European deities as well,” said the posting, dated December 13, 2012.
“If you work for Christianity in any way you work for the Jews. Plain and simple.”
Along with his murder conviction, Vikernes was found guilty of burning down several churches in Norway.
He moved to France with his wife and three children in 2009 after he was released from jail.
The mayor of Salon-la-Tour, where Vikernes and his wife lived, said he had been surprised by the arrest.
“I didn’t notice anything strange [about Vikernes] other than that he liked to wear military costumes and liked Gothic music,” Jean-Claude Chauffour told French TV station BFM TV.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)