NZ Mosque Shootings: 49 Dead, 50 Injured

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Rahimi Ahmad, one of two Malaysians injured in the Christchurch mosque shooting today, will undergo a second operation tomorrow to remove a second bullet in the spine.

A bullet that was lodged in his stomach was removed by surgery today, Bayan Lepas assemblyman Azrul Mahathir Aziz said.

Azrul learnt this from Rahimi’s wife Nor Azila Wahid who had called Rahimi’s mother in Penang from New Zealand. Azrul was visiting Rahimi’s mother, Rokiah Mohammad, 65, at home in Kampung Binjai, when Azila called.

“She said the bullet hit the spine. Rahimi has another operation scheduled tomorrow.

Opalyn Mok

“We are not sure of his exact condition. She said he is still unconscious. She seems traumatised herself,” he said.

Rokiah was waiting all afternoon for news for her son, the middle child of five siblings.

She said she had just returned home from Quran reading at a neighbour’s house when she saw the news of the shooting on RTM.

The news did not name the two Malaysians injured in the massacre that left some 50 people dead, but she knew Rahimi attended mosque in Christchurch, where the shootings took place in two mosques.

“The news said Christchurch. I just knew,” she told reporters.

Opalyn Mok

“My son and his family live in Christchurch and the mosque is very near their house.

“I can’t describe how I felt then. He is so far away. There is nothing I can do. If I could fly to New Zealand to be with him, I would.”

Rahimi, 39, has lived in Christchurch, where he works as a technician at a dairy factory, for over four years with his wife and two young children. Azila, also 39, is studying medicine there.

Al-Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue is in Rahimi’s neighbourhood.

The NZ Herald earlier identified Rahimi as one of the injured. It reported that he had gone to Masjid Al Noor with his 11-year-old son, Ahmad Razif, for Friday prayers when the shooting happened.

The couple has another child, a daughter aged 9.

Rokiah said Azila had called her at about 2pm to inform her that Razif was fine, but there was still no news of Rahimi at the time.

She said Rahimi and his family had returned to Malaysia twice since they moved to Christchurch for Azila’s studies.

“He spoke to me the day before yesterday. He asked how we were doing. Azila said she had just passed her exam. We had the usual chat.

“They were planning to come home this Ramadan,” she said.

Rokiah said Rahimi, the third of five siblings, is a very jovial person and often kept in touch with them.

Azrul, meanwhile, said he and state welfare and caring society exco Phee Boon Poh were making arrangements to fly Rokiah and one of Rahimi’s brothers to New Zealand to be with her son.

He said the mother and son are expected be able to travel tomorrow.

Reportedly, at least four Malaysians were injured in the mosque shootings in Christchurch today.

Besides Rahimi, the others who were injured were identified as Tarmizi Shuid, Mohd Nazril Omar and Haziq Tarmizi.

Up to 49 people were shot dead and about 50 people were injured in the mass shooting in two mosques – Al-Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque – in Christchurch during Friday prayers earlier today.

New Zealand authorities said four people – three men and a woman – had been arrested.

One of them, who is in his late 20s, had been charged with murder.

The four suspects in police custody held extremist views but had not been on any police watchlists.

Authorities said they have also taken control of several car bombs found in the vicinity.

According to Reuters, as many as 41 people died at one mosque, seven at another and one person died in hospital.

Reuters

The attack was described as a “very well-planned event”.

This was the country’s worst-ever mass shooting which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned as terrorism.

A gunman broadcast online live footage of the attack on one mosque, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a “manifesto” in which he denounced immigrants.

The manifesto cited “white genocide”, a term typically used by racist groups to refer to immigration and the growth of minority populations, as his motivation.

The Facebook link directed users to the page of a user called brenton.tarrant.9.

A Twitter account with the handle @brentontarrant posted on Wednesday images of a rifle and other military gear decorated with names and messages connected to white nationalism. What looked like the same weapons appeared in the livestream of the mosque attack on Friday.

The video footage widely circulated on social media, apparently taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded, showed him driving to one mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people inside.

Worshippers, possibly dead or wounded, lay huddled on the floor, the video showed.

One man who said he was at the Al Noor mosque told media the gunman was white, blond and wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest. The man burst into the mosque as worshippers were kneeling for prayers.

“He had a big gun…he came and started shooting everyone in the mosque, everywhere,” said the man, Ahmad Al-Mahmoud. He said he and others escaped by breaking through a glass door.

“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Ardern said.

The shootings resulted in the New Zealand government announcing a lockdown of the city.

Wisma Putra said the High Commission of Malaysia in Wellington was in contact with Malaysians in Christchurch and was monitoring the situation closely.

“A hotline has been set up at the High Commission to facilitate any inquiries on the current situation,” it said.

The High Commission can be contacted at 10 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, PO Box 9422, Wellington 6021, New Zealand, or via telephone at 00-64-210440188/00-64-4385 2439/00-64-4801 5659 and email at mwwellington.kln@1govuc.gov.my/mwwelton@xtra.co.nz.


Related report: Mar 15, MCMC: Don’t Share NZ Killer’s Shooting Video