New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said there is no place in her country for extreme violence after 40 people were killed in brutal attacks on two Christchurch mosques.
Four have been arrested after 49 people were killed, and reports of as many as 50 more injured in the shootings at the Masjid Al Noor and the Linwood Masjid mosques.
A total of three men and one woman have been arrested. One man, aged 28, has now been charged with murder and will appear in a Christchurch court tomorrow.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack.”
She called the tragedy “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here,” Arden said.
“They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us.
“The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.”
Police have taken three men and one woman into custody. It remains unclear if more people were involved.
“I can confirm that the individual who was taken into custody I have been advised is an Australian-born citizen,” Australian prime minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said there were multiple fatalities from a number of locations, one being the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch.
One shooter has identified himself online via a manifesto, claiming to be a 28-year-old Australian.
New Zealand Police has urged the public not to share the “extremely distressing” footage from the scene of one ofthe mosque shootings circulating online and said it was working on having the video removed from the internet.
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
Members of the Bangladesh Test cricket team were reportedly among those fleeing one of the mosques after they were about to enter for a prayer session. The test match they were scheduled to play against New Zealand tomorrow has reportedly been called off.
Australian leaders ‘horrified’ over NZ shooting
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has spoken about the attacks.
“I’m horrified by the reports I’m following of the serious shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand,” Mr Morrison tweeted on Friday.
“The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins.”
Labor leader Bill Shorten said Australia and New Zealand are family.
“We grieve with our brothers and sisters today,” he said.
“We send our love and condolences, our sorrow and solidarity in this terrible time of fear and pain and grief.”
Australian diplomats in New Zealand are seeking information on whether any citizens were affected by the shooting.
“The Australian high commission in Wellington is making urgent enquiries with local authorities to determine whether any Australians have been affected,” a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman told AAP.