Death toll likely to rise, says Bangladesh envoy to Australia
Two persons of Bangladesh origin have been killed and five others injured during Friday’s terror attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, has confirmed.
On Saturday he said that three others of Bangladesh origin were still missing following the lethal attacks that left 49 people dead.
Earlier, on Friday, the Foreign Ministry had said that three Bangladeshis were reportedly killed in the attacks.
“The information earlier was disseminated based on conversations with expatriates, but now it has been confirmed that two Bangladeshis were killed,” clarified State Minister Shahriar.
Speaking at a program organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh, in Dhaka, he identified the five injured Bangladeshis as Lipi, Motasim, Md Omar Faruk, Shahjada Akter, and Sheikh Hasan Rubel.
Of them, Lipi and Motasim were in critical condition, he added.
Shahriar also named the three missing Bangladeshis as Mozammel Haq, Shaon, and Zakaria Bhuiyan.
A gunman shot dead 49 people and wounded more than 40 at two Christchurch mosques on Friday, live-streaming some of the killings that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned as an act of terror.
The attacks took place at the Al Noor mosque and a mosque in the Linwood neighbourhood of the city.
Four people are in custody, but only one - an Australian national - has been charged with murder.
A senior diplomat at the High Commission in Australia, which looks after Bangladesh’s interests in New Zealand, confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday afternoon that the two Bangladeshi deceased were Dr Abdus Samad, a teacher at Lincoln University, and housewife Hosne Ara.
“I have spoken to their families and confirmed,” the official said over telephone from Canberra.
Meanwhile, confirming the death toll, the High Commissioner to Australia, Md. Sufiur Rahman, told the Dhaka Tribune that the death toll could rise.
“I know two Bangladeshis are confirmed dead. And, I am afraid the figure may rise,” he said.
He also said that no information with regard to the casualties of Bangladeshis had been officially received from the New Zealand government.
“Under this type of circumstance, there is a process in place, including the post mortem of the deceased. The New Zealand government will officially inform us only when the process is complete,” he added.
Honorary Consul General of Bangladesh based in Auckland, Shafiqur Rahman, Deputy High Commissioner Tareq Ahmed, and another consular official arrived in Christchurch on Saturday to coordinate with local authorities regarding the Bangladeshi victims.
Shafiqur from the ground also confirmed the death toll and told the Dhaka Tribune that two of the injured Bangladeshis were released from the hospital.
State Minister Shahriar said that the Bangladesh government would provide all necessary assistance to bring the bodies back if their families want.
Family members unable to contact Md Omar Faruk
Even though the State Minister Shahriar on Saturday, confirmed that Md Oman Faruk was injured in the terror attack and was admitted to a hospital, family members failed to make any contact.
Family members called Faruk’s roommate in New Zealand but even he was unable to provide any information about Faruk’s whereabouts.
Now they are waiting by the television, worried sick, waiting for more updates and demands Bangladesh government to provide information of Faruk’s whereabouts as soon as possible.