AT News Report
KABUL: Forty-nine people have been killed and at least 20 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The leadership of the National Unity Government strongly condemned it.
The country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as a terrorist attack and one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”.
A man in his late twenties was charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning, police confirmed.
Two other men and one woman were detained nearby and firearms and explosive devices recovered, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
He said one of those detained was later released, while officers were working to determine if the other two were involved.
The attack, which came around the time people were attending the mosques for Friday prayers, was the deadliest in the nation’s history.
Today’s (Friday) death toll of 49 makes the Christchurch mosque shootings as bad as New Zealand’s previous worst mass killing in 1943.
It is also by far the worst toll of any terrorist attack in Australia or New Zealand. Only two people plus the terrorist died in the Sydney hostage crisis in 2014, and three died in a stabbing in Melbourne last November that was treated by police as “terror-related”.
Guards at a Featherston camp for Japanese prisoners of war shot and killed 48 prisoners during a riot in 1943, during World War II. One New Zealand soldier also died.
Leaders of the government, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, in a separate statement, condemned the attacks in strongest possible terms, and termed it terror and criminal act.
“Terrorist attacks on the mosques (in New Zealand) once again showed that terrorists are not dependent to any religion and they are the enemies of humanity,” Ghani said in the statement.
There is a serious need for global combat against terrorism, the president said, adding the heinous phenomenon should be eradicated from the world through a joint effort.
He also expressed his condolences and with government and the people of New Zealand, wished for rapid recovery to those injured.
“Sad to hear of the barbaric terrorist attack on Mosques in Christchurch. Terrorism has no religion and no legitimate cause. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this savage act. We stand in solidarity with New Zealand Gov and people in condemning this crime,” Abdullah said in a tweet.
Wahidullah Waissi, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia, says in a tweet that one New Zealand-based Afghan was killed and three others were wounded in New Zealand shootings.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned the
terrorist attacks on Muslim prayers of two Mosques in New Zealand as disgusted
by such crimes against humanity.
“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, expressing sympathy to the People and the Government of New Zealand wishes the injured quick recovery and condolences to those who have lost dear ones,” the ministry said in a statement.