NZ leader vows to deny accused mosque gunman notoriety

Minnie Murray
March 21, 2019

Mourners proceed with a coffin of Sayyad Milne, victim of New Zealand's twin mosque massacre, for burial after a funeral prayer at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch on March 21, 2019.

The Mustafa family came to New Zealand from Syria as refugees about nine months ago, hopeful they could rebuild their lives shattered by war.

A four-year-old girl has also been transferred to an Auckland hospital in a critical condition.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for the nation to observe two minutes of silence on Friday and said the call to prayer would be broadcast live by the state-owned radio and television in a show of support for the Muslim community.

Stuart Nash, the minister of police, said they "have no idea" how many assault rifles are in circulation.

"The body will be brought on site, taken to a private marquee that has been set up as a family area", said council spokeswoman Jocelyn Ritchie. "And today they will", said Ardern.

When asked whether people who might hold such guns illegally would be arrested if they turned them in, she said that would not happen: "Amnesty applies".

"All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned".

"While it will be in Christchurch, we are looking at how we can involve the rest of New Zealand", she told reporters in Christchurch on Wednesday.


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand is immediately banning sales of military style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines like the weapons used in last Friday's attacks on two Christchurch mosques.

"This will not be popular among some of our members but after a week of intense debate and careful consideration by our elected representatives and staff, we believe this is the only practicable solution", Federated Farmers Rural Security spokesman Miles Anderson said in a statement.

An identified gunman, 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant of Australia, reportedly left behind a 74-page manifesto that expressed anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments and praised President Donald Trump as a symbol of "renewed White identity".

Christchurch's Muslim community has become increasingly frustrated in recent days over delays in police releasing the bodies since the attack.

New Zealand's worldwide spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, confirmed it had not received any relevant information or intelligence before the shootings.

Families of the victims have been frustrated by the delay as under Islam bodies are usually buried within 24 hours. She knelt amid the flowers and wept, grabbing at daisies and lilies as though she might find her boy in them.

She said it was everyone's responsibility to fight racism.

"I am very sad, " Ms Ardern replied.

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