Sunday, March 24, 2019

At least three Bangladeshis among dead after Christchurch mosque shootings

  • Staff Correspondent bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-03-15 11:58:22 BdST

bdnews24
Witnesses and police at the south end of Deans Avenue after a shooting incident at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 15, 2019. Reuters

At least three Bangladeshis are among the dead after Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, an official said on Friday.

Seven other Bangladeshis were in hospital with gunshot wounds, said Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan, Bangladesh’s honorary consul in Auckland, citing local residents.

The Bangladeshis who died in the attacks have been identified as Dr Abdus Samad, a professor of Lincoln University in New Zealand, his wife and another woman, Hosne Ara Farid.

Samad, a sexagenarian, was born in Mymensingh and a faculty member of Bangladesh Agriculture University, Bhuiyan said.

“They went to that mosque to attend Friday prayers. The families began to call them by phone as they didn’t return home. Later, the families were informed that they have been hospitalised after being shot,” Bhuiyan said.

At least one gunman killed 49 people and wounded more than 20 during Friday prayers at two New Zealand mosques in the country's worst ever mass shooting, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned as terrorism.

A gunman broadcast live footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in the city of Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a "manifesto" in which he denounced immigrants, calling them "invaders".

New Zealand was placed on its highest security threat level, Ardern said, adding that four people taken into custody held extremist views but had not been on any police watchlists.

Following the attacks, the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra remained “engaged” with the New Zealand authorities for the safety of members of Bangladesh diaspora and an early safe exit of the Bangladesh national cricket team from New Zealand.

In a statement, the High Commission said it directly and through the honorary consul of Bangladesh in Auckland disseminated messages to the Bangladeshis living in New Zealand in general and Christchurch in particular to remain calm, stay indoors, avoid places of congregation and obey the instructions of law enforcers.

Bhuiyan will arrive at Christchurch Saturday morning to extend support to the Bangladeshi victims. He may be contacted on +642102465819.

Deputy High Commissioner Tareq Ahmed along with a consular officer of the High Commission will also proceed to Christchurch on Saturday to provide all kinds of support. Ahmed may be contacted on +61450657046.

Additionally, all the diplomats at the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra are available round the clock for information and assistance. Two additional numbers for emergency contact are +61424472544, +61450173035.