Death toll in NZ mosque shootings rises to 50
NEW DELHI: Five Indian nationals were among the 50 worshippers killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks, with at least two others reported to be injured, officials said yesterday. India’s embassy in New Zealand confirmed the deaths in a tweet, following the devastating shootings at twin mosques in the normally peaceful city. Three of the dead from the mass shooting at Al Noor mosque were from Gujarat state. They were father and son victims Asif and Ramiz Vora, and 65-year-old retiree Mahboob Khokhar, who was visiting his son in Christchurch.
Ansi Karippakulam Alibava – a 23-year-old from Kerala, who had lived with her husband in Christchurch since last year as she studied for a masters – was also confirmed dead. The fifth victim, Ozair Kadir, was an aspiring commercial pilot from Hyderabad city. An Indian foreign ministry official in New Delhi told AFP that they are “in process of ascertaining information about all Indians affected by the terror attack”. The official denied Indian media reports that claimed seven people were killed in the attack.
Desperate families in India have been trying to confirm the safety of their relatives after 28-year-old Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant allegedly launched his murderous rampage. Mohsin Vora, the brother of Asif, told AFP that they were initially told his brother and nephew were injured in the attack, before a family member identified their bodies when they flew to New Zealand. Vora said his 56-year-old brother had gone to meet his new grandchild a month ago. “I and (the) parents of Ramiz’s wife have been granted visas. We will be leaving for New Zealand soon,” Vora said.
Death toll mounts
The death toll in the attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch rose to 50 after investigators found another victim as they removed bodies from the crime scenes, the country’s police commissioner said yesterday. The bodies of the victims in the attack by a suspected white supremacist in Friday’s attacks had not yet been released to families because investigations were ongoing, but police were working as quickly as they could to do that, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said at a media conference in Wellington.
Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. Tarrant, handcuffed and wearing a white prison suit, stood silently in the Christchurch District Court where he was remanded without a plea. He is due back in court on April 5 and police said he was likely to face further charges. Friday’s attack, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labeled as terrorism, was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country had raised its security threat level to the highest.
“It is with sadness that I advise that number of people who died in this event has now risen to 50,” Bush said. “As of last night we were able to take all of the victims from both of those scenes. In doing so we were able to locate a further victim.” The body of the 50th victim was found at the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 people died on Friday after a gunman entered and shot randomly at people with a semi-automatic rifle with high-capacity magazines, before travelling to a second mosque.- Agencies