Three Bangladesh nationals were killed and several were injured in terror attacks during Friday prayers in two mosques at Christchurch in New Zealand that left 49 people killed and scores wounded.
There are reports of death of three people of Bangladesh origin and a few are critically injured, Bangladesh High Commission in Australia, with concurrent responsibility of New Zealand, said in a statement.
Two of the three deceased were former Bangladesh Agricultural University professor Abdus Samad and Hosne Ara Farid of Bishwanath upazila of Sylhet, Bangladesh honorary consul general in Auckland of New Zealand Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan told New Age over phone. He could not name the third deceased.
The two attacks were made at Masjid Al Noor at Linwood neighbourhood and Deans Avenue Mosque during the Friday’s Jummah prayers.
The incidents had happened minutes before the Bangladesh national cricket team arrived at a mosque, Bangladesh High Commission said.
‘Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers,’ Cricketer Tamim Iqbal Khan said in a tweet.
‘They were on the bus, which was just pulling up to the mosque when the shooting began,’ Mario Villavarayen, a team coach, told Reuters in a message. ‘They are shaken but good.’
The High Commission requested the New Zealand authorities for safety of Bangladesh-origin people and early safe return of the Bangladesh national cricket team from New Zealand.
A gunman broadcast live stream on Facebook the attack on one mosque mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a ‘manifesto’ in which he denounced immigrants, calling them ‘invaders’, according to Reuters.
Bangladesh-origin shooting survivor Ramzan Ali said that he was the last person to come out of the mosque after the shooting stopped. ‘On the doors, there were a number of bodies.’
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, in a message to his New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters, requested the New Zealand authorities to take all possible measures for the safety of Bangladesh Diaspora in New Zealand.
Bangladesh High Commission disseminated message to the Bangladeshis and Diaspora living in New Zealand in general and Christchurch in particular ‘to remain calm, be indoor, avoid places of congregation and to obey the instructions of the law enforcers.’
Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Tareq Ahmed and honorary consul general Bhuiyan are set to reach Christchurch on Saturday to extend support to the Bangladeshi victims. Bhuiyan may be contacted at his mobile phone number +64 21024 65819 and Ahmed at +61 450 657 046, according to Bangladesh High Commission.
All the diplomats at Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra are available round the clock for information and assistance. Two additional numbers for emergency contact are +61 424 472544, +61 450173035.
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