Published: Mon, March 18, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

‘How we escaped death’ - Nigerian-born imam speaks on New Zealand attack

‘How we escaped death’ - Nigerian-born imam speaks on New Zealand attack

The gunman killed 49 people in terror attacks at two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand's modern history. Around 20 innocent people were seriously injured and 17 went missing after the ghastly attack.

Australian-born 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant appeared in the dock as the judge read a single murder charge against him.

Aziz says he chased the shooter away from the mosque. After his shooting spree in the Al Noor Mosque, he had already killed several people in Linwood as well and was about to pull another weapon from his vehicle. He confronted a man in "army clothes" armed with guns and a camera.

"I'm very sad for what has happened, but I believe this country is a peaceful country and I hope something good will happen after that and the security will become tighter". "When he swore at me, I knew that he's not the good guy", Aziz told Reuters.

When he realised the mosque was being attacked, he ran towards the gunman, picking up a credit card machine as a makeshift weapon. At that moment, Aziz spotted a gun the suspect had forgotten on the floor, picked it up, aimed at the attacker and pulled the trigger, but nothing came out.

The 48-year-old told his children to stay inside as he picked up a credit card machine - the first thing he could find - and ran out of the building screaming "come here" at the gunman in a bid to distract him.

Abdul Aziz smashed window of the terrorist's vehicle with strikes of the gun, which the culprit had dropped to pull out more weapons from his auto. A man inside the mosque followed the shooter as he left the mosque.

The credit card reader hit the shooter, who then ran back to the parking lot and began firing at Abdul Aziz.

"When he sees me... chasing with a gun, he sat in his vehicle", Wahabzadah said. "I chased him", he said.

It was then that Abdul Aziz says he returned to the mosque to discover the scope of the violence.

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One person at the second mosque was being hailed for distracting and confronting the shooter, preventing further deaths. He said his government expressed compassion and solidarity over this "despicable act affecting our neighbours".

Aziz said four of his children were with him at the mosque when the attack occurred.

Details of how a man saved a large number of other Muslims at a New Zealand mosque through his valour have surfaced.

On hearing gunfire outside the mosque, Lateef allegedly screamed at worshipers to go down so as to take cover.

"I told them, 'Brother, you are safe now, get up, he is gone. He's just run away.' And then after that everybody started crying".

Officers arrested two others following the attacks and are now working to establish whether they had any involvement in the terror attacks against the Muslim community in New Zealand.

While 50 people were killed in the rampage, police have so far charged Tarrant with one count of murder.

More heroes came to light as investigators pieced together the incident.

Naeem Rashid, a resident of Abbottabad, died after trying to wrestle a gun from the shooter. He said he was relieved that there was less bloodshed in comparison with the other mosque.

Mr Bush said the gunman had obtained a legitimate firearms licence in 2017 in New Zealand, adding that it was "quite obvious" he had "modified a category A firearm".

"Everybody is angry, everybody is upset of course, and they want to see their dead ones and just want to pay their last respects and let them go to the grave, but the police have to complete their work and go through the normal procedure before they are released", he said.

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