New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that 40 people were killed in the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques on Friday, adding that four suspects were in custody. This was followed by an announcement by New Zealand’s police commissioner that, nine more people had died, taking the toll to 49.
Witnesses reported hearing 50 gun shots from the terrorist’s semi – automatic shotgun at Al Norr Mosque in Christchurch.
A nearby second mosque, Masjid in Linwood, also in the city of Christchurch, was also attacked soon after.
At least 49 people are dead as at now and the death toll could rise further, 41 from the first mosque, seven from the second, and one in hospital.
A report so far indicates that, three people were arrested in connection with the shootings. A 28- year- old man was charged with murder and will appear in court Saturday morning local time. None of the three people arrested in connection with the attacks had been on any security watch lists prior to the attack.
Christchurch police said they do not believe there are any other suspects but added that it was still an open investigation.
A Bangladeshi journalist Mohammad Islam, in a tweet reported that the entire Bangladesh cricket team was among those who escaped from the mosque near Hagley Park, where the shooting took place
Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the gunman who killed numerous worshippers was a right-wing extremist with Australian citizenship.
According to local media reports, the shooter reportedly live streamed the entire incident on Facebook. Witnesses told media that a man dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle had started randomly shooting people.
Many world leaders have expressed condolences and condemnation following the deadly terror attack;
- President Donald Trump- “My Warmest sympathy and the best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques’, 49 innocent people have senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do’’.
- Barrak Obama- “We grieve with you and the Muslim community”
- Queen Elizabeth-“I’m deeply saddened by appalling events in Christchurch”.
- Prime Minister, Theresa May- “My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act”.
- Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned what he called “the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia.
- Australian Prime Minster, Scott Morrison said “Australians stand with all New Zealanders today during these dark times where hate and violence has stolen their peace and innocence. Kia Kaha (Stay Strong)”.