New Zealand PM promises gun law reform after 49 killed in mosque shootings
CHRISTCHURCH/WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday promised to reform the rustic’s gun regulations, an afternoon after a minimum of one gunman attacked worshippers in two mosques, killing 49 and wounding 42 others.
The assault, categorized terrorism by way of the top minister, was once the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the rustic raised its safety risk degree to the best.
Armed police had been deployed at a number of places in all towns, odd in a rustic the place ranges of gun violence are low.
The gunman broadcast pictures of the assault on one of the most mosques in town of Christchurch on social media. A “manifesto” was once additionally posted on-line, denouncing immigrants as “invaders”.
The video pictures, posted are living on-line because the assault opened up, confirmed a person using to the mosque, getting into it and taking pictures randomly at other people within.
Worshippers, most likely useless or wounded, lay at the ground, the video confirmed. Reuters was once not able to verify the authenticity of the pictures.
Police mentioned 3 other people had been in custody together with one guy in his overdue 20s who were charged with homicide. He will seem in courtroom on Saturday. Police have now not recognized the suspects.
“Our investigations are in their early stages and we will be looking closely to build a picture of any of the individuals involved and all of their activities prior to this horrific event,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush mentioned.
Ardern mentioned the primary culprit used 5 guns all the way through his rampage, together with two semi-automatic guns and two shotguns, which he was once legally authorized to possess.
“I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change,” Ardern instructed journalists.
The guy dealing with homicide fees was once an Australian citizen who had spent a large number of time touring in a foreign country and hung out most effective sporadically in New Zealand, Ardern mentioned.
None of the ones arrested had a prison historical past or was once on any watchlist in New Zealand or Australia.
Among the wounded, two had been in a essential situation, together with a four-year-old kid, he mentioned.
There was once a heavy police presence on the sanatorium the place households of the wounded had collected. Funerals had been deliberate on Saturday for one of the crucial sufferers, a number of of whom had been born in a foreign country.
Dozens of other people laid vegetation at cordons close to each mosques in the South Island town, which remains to be rebuilding after a devastating earthquake in 2011 that killed nearly 200 other people.
GRAPHIC: New Zealand shootings – tmsnrt.rs/2O3v80l
Leaders all over the world expressed sorrow and disgust on the assaults, with some deploring the demonization of Muslims.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who condemned the assault as a “horrible massacre”, was once praised by way of the accused gunman in a manifesto posted on-line as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.
Asked by way of a reporter in Washington if he idea white nationalism is a emerging risk all over the world, Trump mentioned: “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand perhaps that’s a case, I don’t know enough about it yet.”
Ardern, who was once flying to Christchurch on Saturday, mentioned she had spoken to Trump, who had requested how he may assist.
“My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities,” she mentioned.
Political and Islamic leaders throughout Asia and the Middle East voiced worry over the concentrated on of Muslims.
“I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan posted on social media. “1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror.”
‘SHOOTING EVERYONE IN THE MOSQUE’
One guy who mentioned he was once on the Al Noor mosque instructed media the gunman burst into the mosque as worshippers had been kneeling for prayers.
“He had a big gun…He came and started shooting everyone in the mosque, everywhere,” mentioned the person, Ahmad Al-Mahmoud. He mentioned he and others escaped by way of breaking via a pitcher door.
Facebook mentioned it had deleted the gunman’s accounts “shortly after the livestream commenced” after being alerted by way of police. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all mentioned that they had taken steps to take away copies of the movies.
Ardern mentioned she had requested government to appear into whether or not there was once any process on social media or in other places forward of the assault that are supposed to have prompted a reaction.
Forty-one other people had been killed on the Al Noor mosque, seven at a mosque in the Linwood community and one died in sanatorium, police mentioned.
The visiting Bangladesh cricket group was once arriving for prayers at one of the most mosques when the taking pictures began however all participants had been protected, a group trainer instructed Reuters.
Muslims account for simply over 1 % of New Zealand’s inhabitants, a 2013 census confirmed, maximum of whom had been born in a foreign country.
Social media was once flooded with messages of concern, sympathy and cohesion.
One symbol shared broadly was once of a cool animated film kiwi, the rustic’s nationwide fowl, weeping. Another confirmed a couple of figures, one in a headband, embracing. “This is your home and you should have been safe here” the caption learn.
Additional reporting by way of Tom Westbrook, John Mair and Swati Pandey in Sydney; Writing by way of Lincoln Feast; Editing by way of Andrew Heavens and Sonya Hepinstall