Fifty people were killed in New Zealand's Christchurch on Friday, 15 March in one of the worst terror attacks in the island nation. At least five Indians were among those killed in the attack on two mosques, the Indian High Commission had confirmed on 17 March.
The funerals of the first victims were held on Wednesday, 20 March, with more expected to take place on Thursday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern returned to the city to pay her respects on Wednesday, saying, “There’s a desire to support the Muslim community as they return to mosques particularly on Friday.”
- At least 50 people were killed in the terror attack on two New Zealand mosques
- Five Indians were among the 50 killed
- The alleged gunman, identified as Brenton Tarrant, had livestreamed a video of the carnage
Burials Begin for New Zealand Mosque Mass Shooting Victims
The burials have begun for the New Zealand mosque mass shooting victims, reported Reuters.
Discussed Plans for a Memorial to Victims: PM Jacinda Ardern
As the first of the Christchurch mosque attack victims were laid to rest, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern returned to the city to pay her respects on Wednesday, 20 March.
Speaking to the media, Ardern said she has discussed plans for a future memorial to mosque shooting victims with the council and community leaders.
On gun control, Ardern said New Zealand is a blueprint for what not to do.
Apologising for the delay in returning the victims’ bodies, she said, "We are absolutely united in our determination to reunite families with their loved ones."
Received No Reports While Attack Was Live Streamed: Facebook
Facebook told New Zealand authhorities that it received no reports of the video of the Christchurch mosque attacks while it was being live streamed by the gunman.
As reported by Associated Press, Chris Sonderby, Vice President and deputy general counsel at Facebook, said "no users reported the video during the live broadcast," which was viewed fewer than 200 times.
Sonderby added in a blog post that Facebook removed the video "within minutes'" of being contacted by police, and it was watched about 4,000 times in total before being taken down.
He concluded saying that Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the attacks in the 24 hours after the event.
Six Bodies Returned to Christchurch Families After Delay
The bodies of six of the Christchurch massacre victims have been released to their families after delay, New Zealand police said on Tuesday. However, they warned only a fraction of those killed had been fully identified, reported AFP.
Police said that all 50 autopsies had been concluded but only “12 victims have been identified to the satisfaction of the Coroner.”
The delay has caused consternation among families of the dead, who would have liked to follow Islamic custom and bury their loved ones within 24 hours.