Forty-nine people were killed in shootings in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, in a terrorist attack that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence”.Ms. Ardern called Friday “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
“What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” the prime minister said at a news conference in New Plymouth, describing the shooting as “an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand.”“Many of those affected may be migrants to New Zealand — they may even be refugees here,” Ms. Ardern said of the victims. “They are one of us. The person who has perpetrated these acts is not.”
Shots were fired at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in the centre of the city and at Linwood Mosque, about three miles away, the police said.
NEW ZEALAND TERROR ATTACK ON MOSQUE: AROUND 50 KILLED
The country’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, said in an evening news conference that 41 people had been killed at Al Noor Mosque and seven at Linwood Mosque, and that a further victim had died at Christchurch Hospital.
The police said that four people, including three men and one woman, had been taken into custody. Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia said that one of them was Australian.
Mr. Bush said that a man in his late 20s had been charged with murder and would appear in Christchurch court on Saturday morning. A number of firearms were recovered from the scenes of the shootings, he said. Two explosive devices were found on one vehicle, Mr. Bush said, one of which was defused and the other was in the process of diffusion. A 17-minute video posted on social media showed part of the attack.
Before the shooting, someone appearing to be the gunman posted links to a white-nationalist manifesto on Twitter and 8chan, an online forum known for extremist right-wing discussions. The 8chan post included a link to what appeared to be the gunman’s Facebook page, where he said he would also broadcast live video of the attack.
The Twitter posts showed weapons covered in the names of past military generals and men who have recently carried out mass shootings.
In his manifesto, he identified himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia and listed his white nationalist heroes.
Social Media websites have been under a lot of pressure of such extremists groups using the web to spread hatred and extremism and have invested huge amounts in artificial intelligence to get rid of such harmful content.