Wellington: Horrible and heart rendering accounts are emerging after mass shooting at 02 mosques in New Zealand even as local police have refused to reveal the exact number of those killed in the incident described by the New Zealand Prime Minister “worst ever” and “darkest” in the history of the country.
“I didn’t know what a gun sounded like. It is customary when we are praying not to pay attention to the outside world … Gunshots kept happening and people kept praying”, Farhaan Farheez, who was in the Linwood Mosque praying with about 100 others when the shooting started, told Stuff.
27-year-old Farhaan, who moved to New Zealand from Fiji in 2015, said he then heard an aggressive voice and “heaps and heaps” of gunshots.
“They came really close. It was at the door. It was really painful in my ears. I could see a gun at the entranceway but not the face. Everyone was really scared and trying to save themselves. People were taking cover at the back of the mosque, hiding under tables and on the ground”, he said.
He saw people get shot, including a man sitting beside the window who was shot in the head, and another man who was shot in the hand.
“Two people who arrived late were the first ones shot and their bodies lay at the entrance”, he said.
“I also saw two females and four or five males dead and the rest were severe casualties … The whole mosque was filled with blood and dead bodies. It was like a battlefield”, he added.
New Zealand police had earlier confirmed mass shooting at two mosques – one in Christchurch and other in Linwood, and said there could be “significant” and “multiple” fatalities.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four suspects were in custody – three men and a woman – but added: “Let’s not presume the danger is gone.”
Talking to local TV channels Muslim worshipers said about 500 people were inside the Al Noor Mosque Christchurch when gunmen entered and opened fire.
Members of the Bangladesh cricket team were also going to the mosque to complete their Friday prayers at Christchurch’s Masjid Al Noor. Just when they were about to enter the mosque, a lady warned them that a gun attack was going on inside the mosque. The distraught Bangladesh players got inside a bus and laid down on the floor after the warning.
Syed Ahmed, another eyewitness, said he saw a man wearing a black motorcycle helmet and camouflage clothing carrying what he thought was a black assault rifle with white writing.
“The man started “indiscriminate shooting” from outside the mosque, first hitting several elderly people sitting on chairs. They were basically all shot”, he said.
He thought at least eight people had been shot, including at least three women and two of his friends. “One had been shot in the head”, he said, adding that he kept “low on the ground” and crawled to the storeroom before getting away.
Another witness said the man was wearing a helmet and had a big gun, with a lot of bullets.
“He came through and started shooting like everyone in the mosque, like everywhere, and they have to smash the door and the glass from the window and from the small door to try and get out”, he said.
A man, who would not give his name, said he was praying in the Deans Ave mosque in Christchurch when he heard the shooting start. He managed to escape, but saw his wife lying dead on the footpath outside.
“My wife is dead,” he said, wailing. His head was supported by other Muslim men who prayed for him.
Another man said he saw children being shot.
“Dozens of people were shot by a man wearing military uniform, who emptied at least two magazines. There were bodies all over me”, he said.