Christchurch/Dhaka: At least three Bangladeshis were killed and seven others injured in New Zealand’s worst terror attacks on Friday that claimed 49 lives, Bangladeshi media reported.
At least 49 worshippers were killed and 20 others injured in attacks on the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and the Linwood Mosque in the city’s outer suburb. The gunman at one mosque was an Australian-born citizen and has been described as an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.
It was not immediately clear how many attackers were involved, but New Zealand police said three men had been taken into custody.
Three Bangladeshis were killed and seven others from the country were in hospitals with gunshot wounds, bdnews24.com quoted Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan, Bangladesh’s honorary consul in Auckland, citing local residents.
The Bangladeshis who died in the attacks have been identified as Dr Abdus Samad, a professor of Lincoln University in New Zealand, his wife and another woman, Hosne Ara Farid, the website said.
Samad was born in Mymensingh and a faculty member of Bangladesh Agriculture University, Bhuiyan said.
Identities of the injured Bangladeshis could not be known immediately, Daily Star newspaper reported.
“They went to that mosque to attend Friday prayers. The families began to call them by phone as they did not return home. Later, the families were informed that they have been hospitalised after being shot,” Bhuiyan said.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Huq said Dhaka was in touch with the New Zealand government.
Bangladesh cricket team players in Christchurch narrowly escaped the attack as they were going to the Masjid Al Noor mosque to offer prayers. The team members were quickly escorted back to their hotel.
In the aftermath of the terror attack, the New Zealand Cricket board announced that the third Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh scheduled to start on Saturday has been cancelled.
Bangladesh does not have an embassy in New Zealand. The Bangladesh embassy in Australia is in contact with New Zealand’s government to acquire updates on the attacks, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
Following the attacks, the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra remained “engaged” with the New Zealand authorities for the safety of members of Bangladesh diaspora and an early safe exit of the Bangladesh cricket team from New Zealand, bdnews24.com reported.
In a statement, the High Commission said it directly and through the honorary consul of Bangladesh in Auckland disseminated messages to the Bangladeshis living in New Zealand in general and Christchurch in particular to remain calm, stay indoors, avoid places of congregation and obey the instructions of law enforcers.
Bhuiyan will reach Christchurch Saturday morning to extend support to the Bangladeshi victims, the report said.
Deputy High Commissioner Tareq Ahmed along with a consular officer of the High Commission will also proceed to Christchurch on Saturday to offer support to the Bangladeshi community, the report said.