New Zealand mosque massacre: Bangladesh cricket team escapes, third Test called off

Local media reported at least six people were dead and the South Island city was placed in lockdown as police hunted for an "active shooter."

Published: 15th March 2019 09:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2019 01:18 PM   |  A+A-

NZ mosque shooting New Zealand

A man rests on the ground as he speaks on his mobile phone across the road from mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand (Photo | AP)

By PTI

CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand and Bangladesh on Friday cancelled the third cricket Test after multiple people were killed in gun attacks on mosques in Christchurch, including one that was attended by the Bangladeshi team.

Bangladesh team, which was about to enter the mosque to offer prayers, were left unscathed but the prevailing situation led to the authorities calling off the third and final Test match at the Hagley Oval starting Saturday.

"All members of the Bangladesh Cricket Team in Christchurch, New Zealand are safely back in the hotel following the incident of shooting in the city.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is in constant contact with the players and team management," the BCB said in a statement on its Twitter page.

Bangladesh's Performance analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekeran, a Chennai-based computer-engineer-turned-cricket-analyst, also spoke about the incident on social media.

"Just escaped active shooters.Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere," he was quoted as saying by media reports.

According to a report in Cricinfo: "The team was en route to the mosque for Friday prayers at the time of the attack but escaped to the nearby Hagley Oval.

They are currently in lockdown at their team hotel.

READ| New Zealand mosque shooting: PM Jacinda Ardern says country enduring one of its 'darkest days'

Senior opener Tamim Iqbal has tweeted: "Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."

New Zealand Cricket tweeted to confirm the safety of the players and support staff.

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by the shocking situation in Christchurch.

A joint decision between NZC and the @BCBtigers has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test. Again both teams and support staff groups are safe," it said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden termed the shooting as "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

Arden issued a strong statement condemning the attack.

"There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was. This is significant and I can tell you now this is and will be one of New Zealand's darkest days.

I would describe it as an unprecedented act of violence, an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand. This is not who we are."

"Certainly it has occurred at a place where people should have been expressing their religious freedom, where they should have been in a safe environment, and they have not been today. There is no place in New Zealand for such extreme acts of unprecedented violence.

"The people who were the subject of this attack today, New Zealand is their home, they should be safe here. The person who has perpetuated this violent act against them, they have no place in New Zealand society," the PM stated.

READ | New Zealand mass shooting: Four taken to custody, IEDs defused

The players were initially barred from leaving the bus but, after several minutes, disembarked and made their way through to the Hagley Park ground.

After that they went back to their hotel.

The manager Khaled Mashud is in contact with both the NZC and BCB.

According to the website report: "Much of the coaching staff were back in the team hotel while the head coach Steve Rhodes was at the ground.

Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan were also back in the hotel and have been contacted, and told to stay back at the hotel.

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