Bangladesh’s tour of New Zealand has been called off following an attack on two Christchurch mosques, which police said involved “multiple fatalities”. The Bangladesh 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.
The attack was described by prime minister Jacinda Ardern as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
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.
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 15, 2019
The team stayed in their bus when the players saw signs of the attack. They were initially barred from leaving the bus but, after several minutes, disembarked and ran through Hagley Park to the ground. They then went back to their hotel.
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.
The manager Khaled Mashud is in contact with both the NZC and BCB. The NZC website said arrangements were being made for the return of the Bangladesh team home “as soon as possible”.
“We are shocked and appalled as I am sure all New Zealanders are,” NZC CEO David White said. “We are offering support to all those within the teams affected by the situation and are continuing to take advice from authorities on the ground.”
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush said police had arrested four people. There were multiple improved explosive devices attached to vehicles as part of the attack, he said.
Prime minister Ardern 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.”