Hero refugee chased gunman away from New Zealand mosque

Abdul Aziz: The man who saved lives by running at the Christchurch gunman

THE Imam of one of the Christchurch, New Zealand mosques attacked by a terrorist on Friday is a Nigerian, The Nation can report today.

The 48-year-old told his children to stay inside as he picked up a credit card machine - the first thing he could find - and ran out of the building screaming "come here" at the gunman in a bid to distract him.

Aziz's action terminated the killing spree.

Mr Alabi said he heard a voice outside the mosque about 1:55 pm (local time) and stopped the prayer he was leading and peeked out of the window. He saw a man dressed in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun.

"I realised this is something else. He went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that's how we were saved", Alabi said, referring to Aziz. They hesitated. A shot rang out, a window shattered and a body fell, and people began to realise it was for real.

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

But Aziz, whose four sons and dozens of others remained in the mosque while he faced off with the gunman, said he thinks it's what anyone would have done.

Footage of the attack on one of the mosques was broadcast live on Facebook, and a "manifesto" denouncing immigrants as "invaders" was also posted online via links to related social media accounts. "But we are so aware of the cultural and religious needs, so we are doing that as quickly and sensitively as possible", Bush 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".

"I'm very sad for what has happened, but I believe this country is a peaceful country and I hope something good will happen after that and the security will become tighter". "And I just got the gun and throw it on his window like an arrow and blast his window".

Afghan refugee and local resident Abdul Aziz, is greeted by a man who came to thank him for his bravery. AFP  Anthony WALLACE
Afghan refugee and local resident Abdul Aziz, is greeted by a man who came to thank him for his bravery. AFP Anthony WALLACE

The bodies of the victims had not been released to families because investigations were going on, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said at a media conference in Wellington.

Alabi became emotional talking about the grieving families. "And he thought probably I shot him or something and... he drove off". "I will pray for them".

The gunman returned and fired.

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. He added that the suspect ran back to his vehicle to supposedly get another gun and Aziz used the opportunity to throw the credit card machine at him. "He's just run away.' And then after that everybody started crying".

"I started picking up the bodies to know who was dead and who was alive".

Tarrant did not have a criminal history and was not on any watchlists in New Zealand or Australia.

Relatives of a member of the Bangladeshi community wait for news at a community centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 17, 2019.

Forty-eight-year-old Abdul Aziz is being called hero for his courageous actions during the Christchurch shooting at the Linwood Mosque last Friday.

He thinks it is what anyone would have done.

Aziz said the gunman went inside the mosque, and he followed, eventually confronting the shooter again.

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