Gunmen attack mosques in NZ, 40 killed in shootout

People are in a state of shock in New Zealand following the deadly attack. The scene of crime has been sealed and investigations are on.

Christchurch: Gunmen who targeted crowded mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch killed a number of people Friday, police said, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern describing the shooting as ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.

The mosques were packed with worshippers gathering for Friday afternoon prayers when the shooter opened fire.

The death toll has reached 40, confirmed New Zealand PM. Four persons were arrested. Those arrested were not on Intelligence agency watchlists, PM added.

According to witnesses, a man dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle had started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque, reported Reuters.

Local media reported at least nine people were dead and the South Island city was placed in lockdown as police hunted for an ‘active shooter’. “This is an evolving incident and we are working to confirm the facts, however we can confirm there have been a number of fatalities,” Commissioner Mike Bush said.

He said one person was in custody but there may be other offenders and armed officers were attending a number of scenes. “Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high,” Bush said Ardern said she was unable to confirm the number of fatalities, saying events were still unfolding.

A man said he saw children being shot. “There were bodies all over me,” he said. An eyewitness told Radio New Zealand he heard shots fired and four people were lying on the ground, with ‘blood everywhere’.

Commissioner Bush said all schools in the city had been placed in lockdown in response to ‘a serious ongoing firearms incident’. ‘Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets,’ he said in a statement. Central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library, were also locked down.

HUNT ON FOR MORE
New Zealand police say they are not aware of other suspects beyond the four who have been arrested after two mosque shootings. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi strongly condemned the attack at mosque in New Zealand. ‘The government and the people of Indonesia convey deep condolences to the victims and their families,’ Marsudi said in a statement. Reports said the police have launched a hunt for those involved in the attack.

 

BLOOD BATH
 * A man dressed in a military-style camouflage outfit started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque* An eyewitness said he heard shots fired and four people were lying on the ground, with ‘blood everywhere’

* Commissioner Bush said all schools in the city had been placed in lockdown in response to ‘a serious ongoing firearms incident’.

* ‘Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets,’ he said in a statement.

* Central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library, were also locked down.

 

NT Bureau