New Zealand police deployed armed officers in central Christchurch on Friday after several shots were fired inside a mosque in central Christchurch. Witnesses at the mosque told media of several casualties. There are unconfirmed reports of a shooting at another mosque, details of which are awaited.
“Police are currently responding to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch at around 1:40 pm. Armed police have been deployed,” New Zealand police said on Twitter. Officials have urged anyone in central Christchurch to stay indoors. A few Bangladesh cricket team members who had visited the mosque were able to escape unhurt.
The players just started running when they heard the shots. I don’t know how many (gunshots) there were. This happened at about 1.45pm,” a team coach said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the media saying the attack was an unprecedented act of violence. “This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. It was an unprecedented act of violence. Police have apprehended a person, but I don’t have further details of him yet,” she said.
“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” NZ Police said in a tweet. “I saw dead people everywhere,” Associated Press quoted a witness as saying. Muslims form just over 1 per cent of New Zealand’s population.