Nigerian-born Imam Alabi, survivor of New Zealand mosque attack, narrates ordeal

Arturo Kim
March 19, 2019

A survivor of the New Zealand attacks at two mosques recounted Saturday the moments in which he confronted one of the suspects in the attack.

Mr Aziz (48) has been praised for saving many people inside by leading the gunman on a cat-and-mouse chase before scaring him into speeding away in his auto.

Aziz's action terminated the killing spree. He saw a man dressed in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun.

"I realised this is something else". He saw him standing and shot him through the window.

That what when it dawned on the congregation that they were under attack.

Aziz then heard one of his sons call out, "Daddy, please come back inside!"

"This ultimately means that within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer", she said. Then, he and a fellow worshippers followed the shooter as he left the mosque.

It was later revealed his son was also a victim of the terror attack.

"The process has been highly emotional and stressful for in accordance with Islamic faith the families have wanted the bodies to be returned as soon as possible", he said.

"We just request the bodies shouldn't be too long in the mosque because the bodies are still lying over there and eventually it will be too hard to wash the bodies and take to the burial and probably things will start deteriorating, that's the worry".

The two mosques involved in the shootings have been closed since the massacre, but are expected to reopen by Friday prayers after cleansing blessings were carried out, said Haumaha.

"I told them 'you guys go inside, I will be alright, '" he said.

"They just want to express the anxiety and the pain they are going through ... that's all. They will have to work very hard to prove that one", he wrote on Twitter.

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He tweeted: "Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this bad act in Christchurch ". He said police had defused a number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the shootings.

"I was screaming to the guy, 'Come I'm here, come I'm here.' I tried to put his focus on me".

Ardern said a "manifesto" was emailed to more than 30 recipients including her office, nine minutes before the attack but it gave no location or specific details.

But the priority for grieving family and friends on Sunday was laying their loved ones to rest.

"I think if words can't describe how you feel, then singing is flawless".

Boztas added that outside the mosque he saw a young person on the ground. "When he saw me with the shotgun in my hands, he dropped the gun and ran away towards his auto". "Every time he stopped, I thought he was gone".

Alabi told everyone inside to get down and before he knew it, dead bodies were already lying on the floor. Farid said he forgives the gunman, and harbours no hatred toward him.

A man pays his respects at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch. He picked up the machine gun and smashed it into the gunman's vehicle windscreen.

Even though he has been appreciated for his pluck and for taking on the gunman, Aziz believes that he did not do anything extraordinary and that any one in such a situation would do the same.

Dozens of Muslims stood by to bury the dead when authorities release the victims' bodies following New Zealand's deadliest shooting in modern history on Friday.

Mr Peters, whose New Zealand First party has previously opposed changes, said he backed the prime minister fully.

The police and eyewitnesses say that a second attack by the gunman was partly thwarted by Mr Abdul Aziz, 48, who was born in Afghanistan.

He thinks it is what anyone would have done.

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