CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – Several of those killed or wounded in the shooting rampage at two New Zealand mosques on Friday were from the Middle East or South Asia, according to initial reports from several governments.
The live-streamed attack by an immigrant-hating white nationalist killed at least 49 people as they gathered for weekly prayers in Christchurch. Another 48 people suffered gunshot wounds in the attacks.
Bangladesh’s honorary consul in Auckland, Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan, said that “so far” three Bangladeshis were among those killed and four or five others were wounded, including two left in critical condition.
“One leg of an injured needed to be amputated while another suffered bullet injuries in his chest,” Rahman Bhuiyan said. He declined to identify the dead or wounded.
Two Jordanians were among those killed, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Petra news service. Foreign Ministry spokesman Sufian Qudah had earlier said that a Jordanian man was killed and eight others were wounded.
Christchurch Hospital chief Greg Robertson said Saturday that seven of the 48 gunshot victims admitted after the shootings had been discharged.
Robertson said a 4-year-old girl who had been transferred to an Auckland hospital was in critical condition and 11 patients who remained in Christchurch were also critically wounded.
“We have had patients with injuries to most parts of the body that range from relatively superficial soft tissue injuries to more complex injuries involving the chest, the abdomen, the pelvis, the long bones and the head,” he said.
Many patients will require multiple operations to deal with their complex series of injuries, Robertson said.
He said a 2-year-old boy was in stable condition, as was a 13-year-old boy.
Mohammed Elyan, a Jordanian in his 60s who co-founded one of the mosques in 1993, was among those wounded, as was his son, Atta, who is in his 30s. That’s according to Muath Elyan, Mohammed’s brother, who said he spoke to Mohammed’s wife after the shooting.
Muath said his brother helped establish the mosque a year after arriving in New Zealand, where he teaches engineering at a university and runs a consultancy. He said his brother last visited Jordan two years ago.
“He used to tell us life was good in New Zealand and its people are good and welcoming. He enjoyed freedom there and never complained about anything,” Muath. “I’m sure this bloody crime doesn’t represent the New Zealanders.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said four Pakistanis were wounded, and Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted that five other Pakistani citizens are missing after Friday’s attacks. Malaysia said two of its citizens were hospitalized, and the Saudi Embassy in Wellington said two Saudis were wounded.
India’s high commissioner to New Zealand, Sanjiv Kohli, tweeted Saturday that nine Indians were missing and called the attack a “huge crime against humanity.” Indian officials have not said whether the nine were believed to be living in Christchurch.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at least three Turkish citizens were wounded in the attacks in New Zealand and that he had spoken to one of them.
Afghanistan’s ambassador to Australia and New Zealand said two Afghans are missing and a third person of Afghan origin was treated and released from the hospital.
Two Indonesians, a father and son, were also among those shot and wounded, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said.
Nasir said the father is being treated at an intensive care unit and his son is in another ward at the same hospital. He declined to identify them.
The man’s wife, Alta Marie, posted on Facebook that her husband and their son are both alive, but wounded.
Marie said that both were shot in the attack Friday at Christchurch’s Linwood Islamic center.
“My husband was shot in multiple places and has a drain in his lung,” she wrote on Facebook. She said she was with her son, who is “traumatized” after being shot in his back and leg.
List of mass shooting incidents in New Zealand, where violent crime is rare and few police carry guns
New Zealand suffered its worst peacetime shooting as at least one gunman, a suspected white supremacist, killed 49 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, the largest city on South Island.
Violent crime is rare in New Zealand and police do not usually carry guns, though mass shootings have occurred previously. Here is a list of some previous incidents.
1997: A lone shooter killed six people, including his father, and wounded four others in the ski-lodge hamlet of Raurimu. He was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity.
1994: Seven members of the Bain family were shot dead in Dunedin, South Island’s second-largest city. A surviving son was convicted of their murders in 1995, but later acquitted at a retrial in 2009 and awarded a payout of almost $1 million New Zealand dollars ($680,000).
1992: At a farm outside Auckland, Brian Schlaepfer shot and stabbed six members of his own family before killing himself with a shotgun.
1990: A gun-mad loner killed 13 men, women and children in a 24-hour rampage in the tiny seaside village of Aramoana. He was killed by police. It prompted a modest tightening of gun laws.
1943: Forty-eight prisoners-of-war and a guard died when officers opened fire on rioting inmates at a camp holding Japanese soldiers captured during the Guadalcanal Campaign. A court-martial determined prisoners were responsible, but no charges were pressed.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5