New Zealand: Several deaths in shootings in two mosques in Christchurch

Four people have been arrested, but the police are asking residents to remain cloistered. No official report has been made.


Ambulance workers take charge of an injured man after a shootout at the Masjid al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15. MARK BAKER / AP

"Multiple" people were killed in shootings on Friday, March 15, against two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch during the prayer, the police said. "The deaths, as far as we know, occurred in two places, a mosque on Deans Avenue and another mosque on Linwood Avenue," said Commissioner Mike Bush. Four people were apprehended.

According to the police, there are three men and one woman, but the situation remained unclear at the end of the afternoon. Mike Bush also said the authorities were able to neutralize explosive devices attached to several vehicles.

Police are removing witnesses to the shooting at the Masjid al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15. MARK BAKER / AP

On this day of prayer for Muslims, the police are asking the faithful to avoid mosques "everywhere in New Zealand," he added. Local media reported that up to six people were killed and several more were injured. A large perimeter in this city of the South Island was cordoned off by the police. "The police are responding to the maximum of their ability to deal with the situation, but the risks remain extremely high," she said in a statement.

At the time of the shooting, the Masjid al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue was filled with worshipers, including members of the Bangladesh National Cricket Team. These came out unscathed. A witness told the news website Stuff.co.nz that he was praying there when he heard shots. While running away, he saw his wife dead in front of the religious building. Another man said he saw children being shot. "I had bodies all over me . "

Survivors of the shooting near the Masjid al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand after the shooting on 15 March. MARK BAKER / AP

A city in a state of siege

Commissioner Bush explained that all schools in the city had been cordoned off: "The police are calling on everyone in central Christchurch not to go out on the street and report suspicious behavior . " Public buildings such as the central library were also closed. The municipality opened an emergency phone line for parents worried about the fate of their children, who were taking part in a march against climate change not far away.

"Do not try to pick up your children before the police say that people can get to the city center safely," the municipality warned. The French Embassy in New Zealand has also warned its citizens on social networks.

Rescue survivors near the Masjid al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand after the shooting on March 15. MARTIN HUNTER / SNPA / REUTERS

Incident in Christchurch - situation point at 3:20 pm An incident is underway in Christchurch in the neighborhoods of ... https://t.co/61j5WcPEHt

- AmbafranceNZ (@France in NZ)

New Zealand premier Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that her country was experiencing one of its "darkest days " after "unprecedented" shootings at mosques in Christchurch. No official information on the exact number of victims was available at the end of the afternoon.

According to a spokesman for the Bangladesh cricket team, an extremely popular sport in this country, none of the players who came to play a game in New Zealand were injured. "They are safe. But they are in shock. We asked the team to stay confined in his hotel, " he told AFP.

New Zealand is famous for its low crime rate. In this country, "the use of firearms to commit crimes remains a rare event , " wrote the US State Department in its advice to travelers.

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REF: https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2019/03/15/nouvelle-zelande-fusillade-dans-une-mosquee-de-christchurch_5436217_3210.html

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