Monday, 25 March, 2019

New Zealand digs graves as mosque massacre toll rises to 50

Residents cry after leaving flowers in tribute to victims in Christchurch New Zealand Residents cry after leaving flowers in tribute to victims in Christchurch New Zealand
Kenny Thornton | 17 March, 2019, 12:47

Anguished relatives were anxiously waiting Sunday for authorities to release the remains of those who were killed in massacres at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, while authorities announced the death toll from the racist attacks had risen to 50.

"There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with this attack", she told a news conference.

She added none of the three people who were arrested had a criminal history in Australia or New Zealand and were not not on the police's watch-list in either country.

Suspect, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is lead into the dock for his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand March 16, 2019.

Residents pay their respects by placing flowers for the victims of the mosques attacks in Christchurch.

In a statement posted online, Sunday, police said officers were continuing to work "closely and extensively with partners to identify the injured and deceased victims of the Christchurch attack". "Just helping people is his main thing".

Two other people were in custody and police said they were working to understand their involvement.

New Zealanders have responded to the attacks with an outpouring of interfaith solidarity - crowdfunding millions of dollars, donating halal food and even offering to accompany local Muslims now scared to walk the streets.

Christchurch attacker meant to continue rampage when arrested: PM Ardern
Paul Police Department said they will be making more frequent visits to mosques in the city and spend more time in nearby areas. Ms Ardern said she would be reviewing events leading up to the attack to see how the suspect went unnoticed by authorities.

Dozens laid flowers near the mosques in New Zealand where 49 people were killed in mass shootings by a suspected white supremacist. "We're getting employees fluent in a range of languages spoken by victims and their families to Christchurch to support our staff".

The majority of victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. I am advised that within two minutes of its receipt at my office it was conveyed directly to Parliamentary security.

"I want to finish by saying that while the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers".

Ardern told the briefing that she had been contacted by Facebook operations chief Sheryl Sandberg who had acknowledged what had happened.

At least one of the weapons used by Tarrant was reportedly an AR-15 - the same semi-automatic rifle used in a number of mass shootings in the United States, including the 2012 Sandy Hook school killings in CT.

To carry out his attack, Tarrant, who first acquired a gun license in 2017, used two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm. Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand's population.

The violence has also shone a new light on gun control.

New Zealand tightened its gun laws to restrict access to semi-automatic rifles in 1992, two years after a mentally ill man shot dead 13 people in the southern town of Aramoana.

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