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New Zealand gun laws to change: Ardern

16 March 2019

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the shooting a "terrorist attack" and one of the country's darkest days. A raft of further charges are expected.

He did not request bail and was taken into custody until his next court appearance scheduled for April 5.

"They were not a resident of Christchurch". More than 45 people were being treated for gunshot injuries at a nearby hospital.

"It's outrageous, the feeling is outrageous", he said.

28-year-old terroris charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is lead into the dock for his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand March 16, 2019.

At least two Jordanians were among the dead, according to that country's foreign minister, while Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said five citizens of his country were missing.

The two mosques were attacked during Friday prayers attended by hundreds of worshippers.

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She said she had been advised the gunman obtained a Category A licence in November 2017, and "under that, he was able to acquire the guns that he held".

"When people, of course, hear that this individual had acquired a gun licence and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I'm committing to that", Ms Ardern told reporters in Wellington.

There are now four individuals who have been apprehended, but three are connected to this attack who are now in custody, one of which has publicly stated that they were Australian-born. Police also defused explosive devices in a auto.

Tributes to the victims poured in from around the world.

The shooter's two targets were the Masjid al Noor mosque, where 41 people were killed, and a second, smaller mosque in the suburb of Linwood, where seven more died. The remaining victim succumbed in hospital.

Meanwhile, the third cricket test between New Zealand and Bangladesh has been cancelled in the wake of the shooting. "Some were covered in blood", he told AFP.

None of those arrested had appeared on watchlist of New Zealand or Australian security agencies, police said.

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The attack has shocked New Zealanders, who are used to seeing around 50 murders a year in the entire country of 4.8 million and pride themselves on living in a secure and welcoming place. Friday is Islam's holy day.

CNN cites a 2015 study that reported New Zealand had an adjusted rate of about 1 gun death per 100,000 people, while in 2017, the United States has an adjusted rate of 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people.

Dozens of people laid flowers at cordons near both mosques in Christchurch, which is still rebuilding after a devastating quake in 2011 that killed nearly 200 people.

Another man said he saw children being shot.

"There were bodies all over", he said.

The suspect who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for the attack.

Beyond that, the New Zealand Police noted in a separate release that in 20 years, from December 1998 to December 2018, there were a total of 15 murders committed by someone, who had a firearms license.

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New Zealand gun laws to change: Ardern