Friday afternoon turned out to be a moment of absolute horror for the people offering prayers at two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch after some gunmen opened fire at the venues. According to CNN, the deadly attack lasted for 10 to 15 minutes and has resulted in multiple deaths and casualties.
If witnesses are to be believed, the gunmen were wearing black attires and helmets when they carried out the act of violence at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre, consisting of at least 100 people at that time. The shooters managed to flee before the police arrived.
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 15, 2019
One of the mass shooters even live-streamed a major part of their attack on Facebook, identifying himself as 28-year-old Australia-born Brenton Tarrant.
New Zealand police say that "there were a number of IEDs attached to vehicles" that have been made safe in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings. Live updates: https://t.co/qfZjJQx3MN pic.twitter.com/bzQXGQEJfU
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 15, 2019
However, according to the police, four suspects, which include three men and a woman have been arrested. The police have also found explosives attached to cars in the city.
It is to be noted that the Bangladesh Cricket team is currently in New Zealand for an ODI and a Test series against the hosts. In fact, the players were very close to the place of action when the shootings went on. According to Bangladesh Cricket Board President, Jalal Yunus, the players were about to enter the mosque when it happened.
Bangladesh team escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters. They ran back through Hagley Park back to the Oval. pic.twitter.com/VtkqSrljjV
— Mohammad Isam (@Isam84) March 15, 2019
“They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel.”
Fortunately, all the players have managed to return to their hotel safely. The third Test between the two countries, scheduled at the Hagley Oval now stands canceled. Speaking about the same, ESPN’s Bangladesh correspondent Mohammad Isam said,
“They were just outside the mosque about to get off from the bus and go into the mosque when they heard shooting and a lot of people running out and they saw someone wounded in front of them.”
“And seeing that, they didn’t get off the bus. About 10 minutes later they ran out of the bus and ran through Hagley Park and into the Hagley Oval.”
Bangladesh cricketer Tamim Iqbal labeled the incident as a ‘frightening’ experience on Twitter.
Holding a press conference, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the moment as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”. She also offered her prayers to the people and their families affected by the ghastly attack.
"This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days."
— ABC News (@ABC) March 15, 2019
“What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence. For now my thoughts and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders are with those who have been affected their families.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the country. Stay safe and strong, New Zealand.