Bangladesh cricketers narrowly dodge New Zealand mosque attack
The team was en route to pray at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch before a scheduled match against New Zealand.
Bangladesh‘s national cricket team has narrowly dodged New Zealand‘s mosque attacks, which have killed at least 49 people.
During Friday prayers, attackers entered two mosques in the city of Christchurch and opened fire on worshippers in what has been called the worst attack in New Zealand’s history.
Members of the Bangladeshi team were en route to pray at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque before a scheduled test match against host team New Zealand, according to Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star.
However, when the players were about to enter the mosque, a woman warned them that there was shooting inside and the team took cover on the floor of their bus.
“We were very lucky because we were not inside that place,” team manager Khaled Mashud told reporters after the attack.
“We saw it from outside, like watching a video, like in the movies. We saw many people coming out bloodied,” he said.
“We were in the bus for about eight to 10 minutes. We had our heads down in the bus, just in case there was firing,” added Mashud.
Batsman Tamim Iqbal Khan also wrote on Twitter: Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”
Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack
— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019
“Allah save[d] us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque … we r (are) extremely lucky … never want to see this things happen again”, captain Mushfiqur Rahim wrote on Twitter.
The team had been due to play a third test match against New Zealand on Saturday at the Hagley Oval Cricket Ground, which is close to the Masjid Al Noor Mosque.
The match was cancelled following the attacks.
Indian cricketer Virat Kohli tweeted a message of support to the Bangladeshi team, urging them to “stay safe”.
Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks, according to New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
An Australian national and a woman are among those arrested. One gunman shared a live stream of the attack on Facebook and posted content about it on Instagram.
Police have urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors, and have warned worshippers not to visit mosques “anywhere in New Zealand”.
The Australian-born suspect published a manifesto, decrying the “decaying” culture of the white, European, Western world and rallying against immigration and multiculturalism.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the attacks on Friday would make it go down as one of the country’s “darkest days”, adding that the assault on the mosques appeared to be a well-planned “terrorist attack”.
“Many of those who would have been affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees here,” Arden said.
“They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home … they are us. The persons who perpetrated this violence against us … have no place in New Zealand”.