Mosque Attack in New Zealand: 5 Bangladeshis still missing | Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:10 AM, March 17, 2019

5 Bangladeshis still missing

Relatives and friends were desperately waiting to know the fate of five Bangladeshis missing since Friday's terror attack on two Christchurch mosques.

Another four Bangladeshis were being treated at a hospital in the city of New Zealand.

During Friday's prayers, a “white supremacist” walked into AL Noor Mosque, indiscriminately shooting unarmed devotees. Reuters said the terrorist massacred 41 people right there.

Seven more were killed at another mosque in neighbouring Linwood while one person died after being taken to the Christchurch Hospital. 

The New Zealand authorities did not disclose the identities of the victims till last night. 

Talking to The Daily Star around 6:30pm yesterday, Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan, honorary consul to the Consulate of Bangladesh in Auckland, said he hoped the details would be available today.

The five missing Bangladeshis are Dr Abdus Samad, Husne Ara Farid, Omar Farukh, Zakaria and Mozammel, he said.

The injured were Selim Reza, Rubel, Mutasim Billah and Lipi, he added.

On Friday, Shafiqur had told this newspaper, “So far, we can say three Bangladeshis are among the dead.” His wife Mahbuba Aziz said the dead had been identified as Dr Abdus Samad, his wife, and Husne Ara Farid.

But yesterday, the consul said they had learnt that information from the Bangladeshi community in Christchurch.  After he went to the city yesterday, he found that Dr Samad's wife was alive.

“We had got incorrect information about Dr Samad's wife. She didn't die in Friday's attack. She's fine,” he said.

“As we are yet to get the official confirmation, we are still considering Dr Samad and Husne Ara to be missing,” he added. 

Meanwhile, UNB yesterday reported that the Bangladeshi authorities have confirmed that two Bangladeshis were killed in the terror attack.

"Ten Bangladeshis were affected [by the attacks]. Two of them died and three are missing," said State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam while addressing a seminar in the capital.

Around 150 to 200 people of Bangladeshi origin live in Christchurch. Some of them are teachers and students at the Canterbury Christchurch University and Lincoln University. Some Bangladeshis, who migrate to Singapore as skilled labourers, also go to Christchurch to work as welders and technicians at different places, including at ship building sites, they added.

Most of the Bangladeshis there attend prayers at Al Noor Mosque, which is close to Hagley Park.

Meanwhile, Bangladeshis kept thronging the Christchurch Hospital throughout yesterday, hoping to have a glimpse of the missing ones.

Mesbahuddin Chowdhury, who teaches business and law at Canterbury Christchurch University, said the families of the missing Bangladeshis started to lose patience as the authorities had not disclosed the names of the victims.

“The families want to know whether their loved ones are alive. They might have to arrange funerals,” he told The Daily Star over phone.

He also said New Zeeland Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other leaders from her party as well as top police officials visited the Hagley College area and expressed sympathy for the affected ones.

“Police have told us that they were doing their best to settle the issue as soon as possible,” he added.

Auckland based daily The New Zealand Herald reported that Jacinda Ardern led a cross-party group of politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister and NZ First leader Winston Peters, Opposition leader Simon Bridges, Green Party co-leader James Shaw and senior ministers on a visit to the Canterbury refugee centre.

There were emotional scenes when Muslim community leaders spoke of their shock at the events of Friday, and the kindness they had experienced in the aftermath.

Ardern assured them that payments were available for lost income -- many of those killed were the primary money-earners in their families - and funeral costs, and that the local authorities were working to provide facilities for gathering and worship.

The group of politicians, at the request of the community leaders, also went to Hagley College to visit families and loved ones of those who had lost their lives, the daily added.

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