As many as 52 people lost their lives and 20 people were seriously injured in New Zealand’s worst-ever attack and that too inside a religious place. An unidentified Gunmen sneaked into two mosques in Christchurch- Al Noor mosque, Linwood mosque and then shot the worshippers who had arrived for Friday prayer.
The country Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern updated the death toll on the cowardly attacks and also declared that they are “treating it as a terrorist incident”.
“We New Zealanders were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone this racism, or because we are an enclave of extremism, we were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things,” she said.
“I want to send a message to those directly affected…For many, this may have not been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to…it was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion.
“We represent diversity and compassion, a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities and 160 languages.”
“[This is] the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this.”
So far, four people have been detained by the police- three men and one woman, who have not been on any police watchlists.
The PM also confirmed that none of the people arrested were on the most wanted terror list. In the aftermath of the attack, she upgraded the country’s terror threat level from low to high.
Ardern added: “This is not who we are. This act was not a reflection of who we are as a nation. It will take time to heal and tonight our thoughts and our prayers need to be with those affected.”
According to Police Commissioner Mike Bush, there could be more suspects associated with this attack.
“We are currently dealing with an unprecedented situation in New Zealand. It’s very grave, it’s very serious,” he told reporters.
“This is absolutely tragic. There will be so many people affected. As you can imagine, this is requiring every police and emergency resource we have available.”