"One Of New Zealand's Darkest Days" 50 Killed, Over 20 Injured In Terror Attacks
“It is clear that this it is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” said Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand after shootings at two mosques took lives of 50 people and injured over 20 people on March 15. PM Ardern further described the shootings as a terrorist attack. Of these 50 killed, five were Indians, confirmed the India’s High Commission on March 17.
With a very heavy heart we share the news of loss of precious lives of our 5 nationals in ghastly terror attack in #Christchurch
Mr. Maheboob Khokhar
Mr. Ramiz Vora
Mr. Asif Vora
Ms Ansi Alibava
Mr. Ozair Kadir@kohli_sanjiv @MEAIndia @SushmaSwaraj 1/3
— India in New Zealand (@IndiainNZ) March 16, 2019
The mosque situated in New Zealand’s Christchurch city, where shootings took place, was full of worshipers. The authorities have detained four people in connection to the attack. The police confirmed that multiple explosive devices were found attached to one of the attacker’s car. Police Commissioner, Mike Bush confirmed these explosives were defused. He also said that all the injured were taken to Christchurch Hospital.
One of the arrested suspects is an Australian born citizen named Brenton Tarrant. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Tarrant as an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.”
One of the witnesses Ramzan told The Guardian that the gunfire broke out at 1:40 PM (local time).
Soon after the news broke, armed police in New Zealand swarmed to the area. Police have urged all the mosques to remain closed across New Zealand and have asked people to refrain from visiting mosques until official notice is issued. Schools in Christchurch were put on lockdown for several hours and residents were told to stay off the streets. As of now, the lockdown is lifted, and children are back with their parents.
Attackers held extremist views
According to The Guardian, Brenton Tarrant (28) one of the shooters live-streamed part of the attack on Facebook. After the cops alerted Facebook, the social media giant removed the video and suspended the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. The attacker has also posted a link to an 87-page manifesto filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas and explanations for an attack.
The Bangladesh cricket team are touring the country and were among those who were fleeing from the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch. The team were about to enter the mosque when they heard shooting and escaped the horrific situation narrowly. The test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh has been cancelled.
New Zealand’s national carrier Air New Zealand had to cancel flights bound to Christchurch.