New Zealand mosque attacks: Gunmen kill 49 in shooting on worshippers

Gunmen have killed 49 people in unprecedented attacks on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.

More than 20 others were in serious condition after the terrorist attacks.

“This is, and will be, one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Ardern added.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four suspects were in custody – three men and a woman – but added: “Let’s not presume the danger is gone.”

A man who lives near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch told reporters that many people were dead there.

About 10 to 15 people were seen outside the mosque, “some alive, some dead”, one witness said.

“It was unbelievable. I saw about 20 people, some dead, some screaming,” another eyewitness told local television.

A witness to a second shooting told New Zealand media that he saw two wounded people being transported by rescuers afterward.

Police confirmed a second shooting occurred at the Linwood mosque during Friday prayers but no details were immediately available, Al Jazeera reported.

Authorities have urged people not to visit mosques “anywhere in New Zealand”.

Reports say one of the gunmen livestreamed his shooting and left a racist manifesto at the scene.

Members of the Bangladeshi cricket team, who were set to play a test match in Christchurch tomorrow escaped from the mosque, ESPN Cricinfo reporter Mohammed Isam said.

Muslims make up one percent of New Zealand’s population, according to 2013 census results.

Prime Minister Ardern said many of the victims affected by the attacks may be migrants to the country.

The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported that the city of Christchurch was in lockdown, with reports of a third shooting incident and a car bomb.

It added that one of the attackers, believed to be Australian, filmed as he shot victims in the mosque.

Prime Minister Ardern is holding a crisis meeting of top security officials in Wellington, having flown back to the capital from a climate protest further north, the BBC reported.