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Forty-nine dead in New Zealand Mosque shooting



Forty-nine dead in New Zealand Mosque shooting

Forty-nine people have been killed and at least 20 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described one alleged gunman, who had Australian citizenship, as an “extremist, right-wing” terrorist.

A man in his late twenties was charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning, police confirmed.

Two other men and one woman were detained nearby and firearms seized, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

He said police had determined that one of the people detained was not involved in the incident, and officers were working to understand if the other two were connected.

The shooting was the deadliest in the country’s history.

One gunman live-streamed footage of his rampage to Facebook, filmed with a head-mounted camera. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al-Noor mosque.

Police called on the public not to share the “extremely distressing” footage online. Facebook said it had removed the gunman’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage.

The suspect was also believed to have published a manifesto outlining his intentions, in which he identified himself as a 28-year-old born in Australia and espoused far right and anti-immigrant ideology.

Police Commissioner Bush confirmed that the suspect who was charged was not known in advance to either New Zealand or Australian security services.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”. “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” she said.

What do we know at this point?

The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque, located in central Christchurch. Witnesses told local media they ran for their lives, and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the building.

A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood was evacuated, but there were fewer details from that site. Police also defused “a number of IEDs (explosive devices) attached to vehicles”, Mr Bush said.

Authorities advised all mosques in the city to shut down until further notice. Armed police were also seen at Papanui High School in Christchurch, which was cordoned off.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Bush said police were working to determine whether the other suspects detained were involved in the incident.

He said a number of firearms had been recovered from both shooting sites, and explosive devices were found in a car belonging to one of the suspects.

What happened at the mosques?

The sequence of events remains unclear and has mostly come via eyewitness reports to local media.

The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque, located in central Christchurch along Deans Avenue, facing Hagley Park. Witnesses there reported seeing people bleeding on the ground outside the building.

One unnamed survivor told TV New Zealand he saw a gunman shoot a man directly in the chest.

The attacker reportedly targeted the men’s prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women’s room.

“What I did was basically just waiting and praying, God please, let this guy run out of bullets,” the witness said.

“He came to this side, he shot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies’ section and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies has died.”

A Palestinian man, who did not wish to be named, told AFP news agency he saw a man shot in the head, and heard rapid gunfire.

“I heard three quick shots, then after about 10 seconds it started again – it must have been an automatic, no one could pull a trigger that quick.

“Then people started running out. Some were covered in blood.”

A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood has also been evacuated, and the police commissioner said “multiple fatalities” were recorded at two locations. There are far fewer details emerging from there, however.

How are the authorities responding?

Multiple casualties have been brought to Christchurch Hospital, where there is a heavy police presence.

A spokeswoman said Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has activated its mass casualty plan, according to New Zealand news site

Police earlier cleared Cathedral Square, where thousands of children had been holding a rally for action on climate change.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said: “Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.

“Police recommend that residents across Christchurch remain off the streets and indoors until further notice.”

A lockdown on all schools in Christchurch has now been lifted, and parents are being told they can collect their children.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted: “I’m horrified by the reports I’m following of the serious shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins.”

Who has been caught up in the attack?

As well as the numerous witness reports of casualties, the Bangladesh national cricket team appear to have narrowly escaped the shooting.

A reporter following the team, who were due to play New Zealand in a now-cancelled test match on Saturday, tweeted that the team had “escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters”.

Player Tamim Iqbal tweeted that the “entire team got saved from active shooters”.

Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team had gone to mosque by bus and were about to go inside when the incident took place.

“They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel,” he told the AFP news agency.


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General News

Tumu residents demand good roads ahead of Nana Addo’s visit



Tumu residents demand good roads ahead of Nana Addo’s visit

For the first time since the revival of Paaregbielle festival celebrated by the Sissala people 10 years ago, a sitting President will attend the occasion which comes with excitement among citizens of the Sissala East Municipality.

The Ghana News Agency went into the Tumu Township to gauge the mood of residents about their expectations of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s maiden visit on Saturday, March 23.

Many want the President’s assurance on fixing the bad roads network of Wa-Tumu-Bolga as its deplorable state hindered economic activities, particularly with their francophone West African neighbours with huge market potential.

Many unemployed youths also appealed for jobs and want to remind the President of his promise to give them a district factory, citing as an example, the Tumu Cotton Ginnery yet to be made operational.

Others want the President to make a pronouncement on the employment of graduate teachers and community nurses, with some saying: “If our development needs are not addressed, we will hold our immediate leaders responsible”.

Mr Sani Jebuuni, a political activist of the National Democratic Congress, praised the President for the implementation of the planting for food and jobs programme and encouraged him to do more.

The Member of Parliament of Sissala East Constituency, Mr Ridwan Abbas Dauda, said the festival would offer an opportunity to the President to make a commitment and “once they are made they will be done for the people”.

“Saturday, we will all get a good package from the President from his visit and speech”.

Source. GNA

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General News

35 passengers burnt beyond recognition in Kintampo accident given mass burial



35 passengers burnt beyond recognition in Kintampo accident given mass burial

At least 35 persons who were burnt to death on Friday when two high occupancy commercial vehicles crashed head-on near Kintampo in the Bono East Region have been given mass burial.

Fifty-six persons have been confirmed dead in the accident involving the two buses which were carrying a total of 108 passengers. Fifty-two others, including three children, suffered varied degrees of injuries.

Police and local government authorities say most of them were burnt beyond recognition, something that necessitated the mass burial at the Jema cemetery Saturday morning.

The burial supervised by the police, chiefs, sanitation and other local government officials, was attended by persons whose relatives were involved in the gory accident but could identify their bodies.

Most of the deceased who were in the bus that went up in flames when it collided, are said to be residents of Garu and its environs in the Upper East Region.

They were travelling from Garu to Kumasi in a GPRTU managed bus registered GT5694-18 when their bus collided head-on with a VVIP bus registered GT-3916-17 at Ampomakurom near Jema at about 2:00am Friday.

The intensity of the collision caused the Kumasi-bound bus to spark fire killing the occupants.

District Chief Executive for Garu, Emmanuel Asore who witnessed the mass burial Saturday told “it’s a dark day for us all,” noting he lost a family member while his presiding member lost five relatives in the accident.

He said the whole of the Upper East region is morning with the families of the deceased, noting a memorial service and a vigil will be organised for the dead.

Mr Asore said “close to 35 of the victims were burnt beyond recognition”.

However, he revealed seven persons who were among those burnt to death have as of Saturday morning been identified by their relatives and have been released the bodies to them for burial.

“We believe it is designed by God so we accept it,” Mr Asore said, adding the latest ghastly accident should be a wakeup call to government, the police and the people of Ghanaian to take steps to prevent some of these carnage on our roads.

He underscored the need for vehicles to undergo proper checks before being released to ply on the roads and also asked transport operators to always ensure they have two drivers on a bus for long distances to avoid driver fatigue.


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General News

Ask violent politicians to recruit relatives – Mustapha Hamid to Zongo youth



Ask violent politicians to recruit relatives - Mustapha Hamid to

Ask violent politicians to recruit relatives – Mustapha Hamid to Zongo youth

The Minister for Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Dr Mustapha Abdul Hamid, has advised politicians, who are in the habit of using Zongo youth to foment political violence, to rather use their relatives for that purpose.

He said the youth should engage in violence if those asking them to do so have their relatives at the forefront.

Speaking at the formal launch of the Zongo Sensitisation Programme on Peace, Non-Violence and Development, the minister said the time had come for leaders in the various Zongo communities to rise up and stop politicians from using their places as recruitment centres for thugs or vigilantes for political violence.

He advised that the youth should not be blinded by party loyalty and take the law into their own hands, saying “when they come to you, ask the politicians to bring their sons and their daughters too. In fact, the politician’s son should lead the attack since it’s a good thing for them.”

He also stressed the need to do away with all narcotic dens in the communities with the support of opinion leaders and security agencies.

The CHRAJ Boss, Joseph Whittal, who was at the event, said that the opinion leaders can lead the effort to stop the Zongo youth from becoming vigilantes.

He urged the youth to be more development-oriented and empower themselves towards good education, improved sanitation, among others.

Mr Whittal also advised stakeholders to shun early marriages which, according to him, are prevalent in Zongo communities. “We cannot continue the age-old practice of neglecting the education of the girl-child. We don’t have to marry her off too early,” he stressed.

Lt Col Umar Sanda Ahmed (Rtd), a former Ambassador to Egypt, on his part, attributed vigilantism to ‘improper parenting’ – a situation where children at an early stage are not provided with proper education and family support.

The children, he said, become vulnerable and are easily recruited to engage in deviant behaviours when they grow up.

The stakeholders’ forum, which was organised by the Greater Accra Council of Zongo Chiefs, was attended by some prominent Zongo chiefs and personalities.

Also present was the National Imam of the Ahlussuna Wal Jamaa’a (ASWAJ), Hajj Umar Ibrahim.


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