NZ reels from one of its 'darkest days'

Witnesses have described bloody scenes after shootings at two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch, with political leaders horrified by the events.


* "When the shooting started people started rushing out, and the door was closed, and the guys came on them and started shooting them...He went to all the different (rooms) and he shot everyone." Witness Farid Ahmed, with blood splatters across his shirt, told AAP of the shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue.

* "I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque." Witness Len Peneha - who rushed into the Masjid Al Noor mosque to help after hearing dozens of shots - told the Associated Press.

* "They were basically all shot." Witness Syed Ahmed, who was among those at the mosque on Linwood Avenue, told news site Stuff about a group of elderly people.

* "Whilst I cannot give any confirmation at this stage around fatalities and casualties, what I can say is that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand's darkest days." New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

* "I never could believe that something like this would ever happen in the city of Christchurch, but actually I would never believe that this would ever happen in New Zealand." Christchurch City Council Mayor Lianne Dalziel

* "We are dealing with a very serious and tragic series of events in the Christchurch-Canterbury area." New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush

* "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." Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

* "Violence of any kind that is motivated by hatred towards ethnic or religious groups has no place in society." Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia

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