49 dead in Christchurch shootings, confirms New Zealand’s PM

Bangladeshi cricketers faced a narrow escape

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CHRISTCHURCH: Multiple fatalities are feared in a “critical incident” early Friday as gunshots were heard near a mosque in New Zealand’s east-coast city, international media reported, with the Bangladeshi cricket team narrowly escaping danger.

Speaking to the media persons, PM Ardern said that ‘It was a planned attack and the investigation is under process that killed 49 persons today.”

“This is an incident of terrorism and three suspects have been apprehended who are being interrogated”, PM added.

Local media reported up to nine people were dead and the South Island city was placed in lockdown as police hunted for an “active shooter.”

“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” police said in a statement.

“Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.”

The Masjid al Noor was filled with worshippers, including members of the Bangladesh cricket team.

A team spokesman said none of the players were hurt.

“They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel,” he told AFP.

He said the attack happened as some of Bangladesh players disembarked from a team bus and was about to enter the mosque.

“Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers,” he added.

Mushfiqar Rahim also took to social media and wrote, ” Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque…we r extremely lucky…never want to see this things happen again….pray for us.”

An eyewitness told Radio New Zealand he heard shots fired and four people were lying on the ground, with “blood everywhere”.

Police commissioner Mike 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 and report any suspicious behaviour,” he said in a statement.

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

The city council offered a helpline for parents looking for kids attending a mass climate change rally nearby.

“Please do not try and come and collect your children until police say it is safe for people to come into the central city,” they said.

According to BBC, witnesses said “several people appeared to be injured inside the building” and the police had advised people to stay away from the area.

Buildings surrounding the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch were evacuated by authorities and the schools in the neighbourhood were placed on lockdown, according to police commissioner Mike Bush.

 

This article or news story originally appeared on AFP

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