4 suspects arrested, 30 people reportedly killed in NZ’s Christchurch shootings
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, March 15 — Four suspects were arrested by New Zealand Police in relation with Friday afternoon’s shootings in Christchurch.
New Zealand Police Minister Mike Bush confirmed that three men and one woman are now in police custody in relation with the multiple shootings at two separate mosques in Christchurch.
“Police is not aware of other suspects in this area, but won’t assume there will not be further suspects,” said Bush. Police also located cars that have bombs attached.
Local media Stuff reported that as many as 30 people were feared dead following the shooting.
Bush said the fatalities are significant. Bush added he was aware that footage of the Al Noor Mosque shooting was on social media and police were doing everything they could to get it removed.
Local police have also found and neutralized a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attached to vehicles.
At least two gunmen opened fire at two separate mosques in Christchurch, according to local media.
Witnesses described that there are much blood and multiple deaths. At least 50 rounds of gunshots were heard during the shooting, said one witness.
The country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. My thoughts are with Christchurch.”
“It is an unprecedented violence in New Zealand. There is no place for such extreme violence in New Zealand.”
According to reports, a gunman in camouflage uniforms opened fire inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque full of prayers in central Christchurch during the afternoon praying time.
The Bangladesh cricket team was about to enter the mosque when the shooting occurred, so the team members fled safely.
Local media also reported another shooting at a second mosque on a Christchurch suburb.
People are recommended by the police to stay indoors. All mosques nationally are urged to shut their doors, and people are advised to refrain from visiting these premises until further notice.
Armed police have been deployed. Local streets and schools are locked down. Christchurch airport operates as normal.
Chinese Consul General in Christchurch Wang Zhijian told Xinhua that emergence response has been activated. No casualty of Chinese citizen has been reported yet.
The Chinese Consulate General office is working with local police to further check if there is any Chinese citizen being caught in the gunfire. – XINHUA