International desk – At least 49 people have been killed and dozens others wounded in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch.
The Prime Minister of the Pacific nation, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday described the terrorist attack as one of New Zealand’s darkest day after a gunman carried out the mayhem in the mosques.
The gunman, identified himself as an Australian, live-streamed the rampage at Al Noor mosque to Facebook. He had espoused racist, anti-immigrant views, according to a BBC report.
The 28-year old man has been arrested over murder change and due to appear before the court on Saturday. One of the two others detainees were released later.
No names have been made public. Firearms and explosive devices were recovered, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
The gunman live-streaming the attack from a head-mounted camera said he was a 28-year-old Australian called Brenton Tarrant. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al Noor mosque.
Police called on the public not to share the “extremely distressing” footage online. Facebook said it had removed the gunman’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage.
The suspect who was charged appeared to have published a document before the attack outlining his intentions as well as details about the plan for the attack.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the man as an “extremist, right-wing” terrorist. New Zealand Police Commissioner Bush confirmed that the man was not known in advance to either New Zealand or Australian security services.
Members of Bangladesh cricket team narrowly escaped the shooting as they were only a few yards away from the mosque to offer Friday prayers when the rampage was being carried out by the racist man.
They were, however, prevented from entering the mosque by a woman. The cricket team was travelling to that area without any guard along with them.
The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch.
A gunman drove to the mosque’s front door and entered to begin firing indiscriminately. The live-streaming of the attack lasted some 17 minutes.
Witnesses told local media they ran for their lives, and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the building.
One survivor said he saw the gunman shoot a man directly in the chest. The attacker reportedly targeted the men’s prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women’s room.
“What I did was basically just waiting and praying, God please, let this guy run out of bullets,” the witness told a New Zealand television.
“He came to this side, he shot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies’ section and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies has died.”
Three Bangladeshi origin people were among the dead, according to Bangladeshi officials. Others are from India, Indonesia, Turkey among the Muslim countries.
Bangladeshi government condemned the attack.