49 dead in New Zealand mosque attack; 4 held

49 dead in New Zealand mosque attack; 4 held

Nine Indian or Indian-origin people are feared to be among the victims

Security officials guards one the mosque Masjif Al-Noor after a gunman filmed himself firing at worshippers inside in Christchurch on March 15, 2019. - A gunman opened fire inside the Masjid al Noor mosque during afternoon prayers, causing multiple fatalities. (AFP)

A “right-wing extremist” armed with semi-automatic weapons rampaged through two mosques in Christchurch during afternoon prayers on Friday, killing 49 worshippers and wounding dozens more.

Nine Indian or Indian-origin people are feared to be among the victims. New Delhi is yet to receive any confirmed report from Wellington, but Sanjeev Kohli, High Commissioner of India to New Zealand, tweeted that at least nine Indian or Indian-origin people were missing after the attack.

“As per updates received from multiple sources, there are 9 missing persons of Indian nationality or origin. Official confirmation still awaited. Huge crime against humanity,” tweeted Kohli.

A man from Hyderabad is among those injured, his family confirmed.

The attacker live-streamed footage of him going room to room, victim to victim, shooting the wounded from close range as they struggled to crawl away.

A 28-year-old Australian-born man has been arrested and charged with murder. Two other men remain in custody, although their link to the attack is unknown.

The suspect allegedly published a racist “manifesto” on social media before the attack, featuring conspiracy theories about Europeans being displaced.

His two targets were the Masjid al Noor mosque, where 41 people died, and a second, smaller mosque in the suburb of Linwood, where seven more died. One victim succumbed in hospital. The dead include women and children.

The Bangladesh cricket team, which had been in Christchurch for a Test match and was about to go into the mosque when the attack happened, escaped without injury.