Forty-nine dead in mosque attack in New Zealand

Forty-nine people were killed during Friday prayers in attacks on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, authorities said, a gunman being identified as an Australian right-wing extremist.

Premier Jacinda Ardern has described one of the "darkest days" ever experienced by this nation in the South Pacific known to be peaceful after these attacks, the worst against Muslims in a Western country.

Witnesses said they saw bloody bodies. Children and women would be among the dead. Police have asked people not to share "extremely distressing images" after posting a video of a white man filming shooting worshipers at a mosque.

"It's clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack," said Ardern, adding that 20 people were seriously injured. "As far as we know, (the attack) seems to have been well planned."

The gunman at one of the mosques in Christchurch, a locality on the South Island, was an Australian national, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney describing him as "a right-wing extremist terrorist".

The exact number of shooters was not known, but Ms. Ardern said three men were in custody. Police said the gunman had been charged with murder, adding that improvised explosive devices had been disarmed by the military.

A Palestinian in one of the places of worship said he saw a man being shot in the head.

- "Blood covered" -

"I heard three quick shots and after about ten seconds it started again, it must have been an automatic weapon, no one could pull the trigger so fast," said the man to AFP under the cover of 'anonymity. "Then people started running out, some were covered in blood."

Videos and documents circulating on the internet, but not officially confirmed, seem to indicate that the attacker published his attack on Facebook Live.

AFP has studied these images, which have since been removed. Journalists with experience in verification techniques believe that they are genuine.

A "manifesto" posted on accounts linked to the same Facebook page refers to the theses of the "great replacement" circulating in far-right circles and theorizes the disappearance of "European peoples".

The two known targets were the Masjid al Noor mosque in the center of the city - where 41 people died, according to the police - and a second mosque in Linwood, in the suburbs.

A witness told the news website Stuff.co.nz that he was praying at Masjid al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue when he heard shooting. While running away, he saw his wife dead in front of the religious building.

Another man said he saw children being shot. "There were bodies everywhere".

A witness told Radio New Zealand that he heard gunshots and saw four people lying on the ground, "with blood everywhere".

The security forces had imposed a closure of the city center before lifting the measures a few hours later. Police demanded that worshipers avoid mosques "everywhere in New Zealand".

- "State of shock" -

The municipality has opened a red phone for parents worried about children who were protesting against climate deregulation.

All the schools in the city had been cordoned off. The police had called "all those present in central Christchurch not to walk down the street and report suspicious behavior."

Public buildings such as the central library were also closed.

The Bangladeshi cricket team, an extremely popular sport in this country, went to one of the mosques at the time of the attack but none of the players who came to play a match in New Zealand were injured, according to a spokesman.

"They are safe, but they are in shock and we asked the team to stay in their hotel," he told AFP.

New Zealand, a country known for low crime, has raised its level of security alert from low to high.

As a precautionary measure, the army blew up two bags that seemed abandoned near a Auckland guard.

According to the 2013 census, some 46,000 people identified themselves as Muslims in New Zealand, just over 1% of the total population.

In 2017, six worshipers were killed in a mosque in Quebec City, Canada. The perpetrator of the shooting was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Comments are closed.

Forty-nine dead in mosque attack in New Zealand

Forty-nine people were killed during Friday prayers in attacks on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, authorities said, a gunman being identified as an Australian right-wing extremist.

Premier Jacinda Ardern has described one of the "darkest days" ever experienced by this nation in the South Pacific known to be peaceful after these attacks, the worst against Muslims in a Western country.

Witnesses said they saw bloody bodies. Children and women would be among the dead. Police have asked people not to share "extremely distressing images" after posting a video of a white man filming shooting worshipers at a mosque.

"It's clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack," said Ardern, adding that 20 people were seriously injured. "As far as we know, (the attack) seems to have been well planned."

The gunman at one of the mosques in Christchurch, a locality on the South Island, was an Australian national, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney describing him as "a right-wing extremist terrorist".

The exact number of shooters was not known, but Ms. Ardern said three men were in custody. Police said the gunman had been charged with murder, adding that improvised explosive devices had been disarmed by the military.

A Palestinian in one of the places of worship said he saw a man being shot in the head.

- "Blood covered" -

"I heard three quick shots and after about ten seconds it started again, it must have been an automatic weapon, no one could pull the trigger so fast," said the man to AFP under the cover of 'anonymity. "Then people started running out, some were covered in blood."

Videos and documents circulating on the internet, but not officially confirmed, seem to indicate that the attacker published his attack on Facebook Live.

AFP has studied these images, which have since been removed. Journalists with experience in verification techniques believe that they are genuine.

A "manifesto" posted on accounts linked to the same Facebook page refers to the theses of the "great replacement" circulating in far-right circles and theorizes the disappearance of "European peoples".

The two known targets were the Masjid al Noor mosque in the center of the city - where 41 people died, according to the police - and a second mosque in Linwood, in the suburbs.

A witness told the news website Stuff.co.nz that he was praying at Masjid al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue when he heard shooting. While running away, he saw his wife dead in front of the religious building.

Another man said he saw children being shot. "There were bodies everywhere".

A witness told Radio New Zealand that he heard gunshots and saw four people lying on the ground, "with blood everywhere".

The security forces had imposed a closure of the city center before lifting the measures a few hours later. Police demanded that worshipers avoid mosques "everywhere in New Zealand".

- "State of shock" -

The municipality has opened a red phone for parents worried about children who were protesting against climate deregulation.

All the schools in the city had been cordoned off. The police had called "all those present in central Christchurch not to walk down the street and report suspicious behavior."

Public buildings such as the central library were also closed.

The Bangladeshi cricket team, an extremely popular sport in this country, went to one of the mosques at the time of the attack but none of the players who came to play a match in New Zealand were injured, according to a spokesman.

"They are safe, but they are in shock and we asked the team to stay in their hotel," he told AFP.

New Zealand, a country known for low crime, has raised its level of security alert from low to high.

As a precautionary measure, the army blew up two bags that seemed abandoned near a Auckland guard.

According to the 2013 census, some 46,000 people identified themselves as Muslims in New Zealand, just over 1% of the total population.

In 2017, six worshipers were killed in a mosque in Quebec City, Canada. The perpetrator of the shooting was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Comments are closed.