Christchurch Terrorist Attack
We are lucky to escape the massacre: Mashud
Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mashud said that they are extremely lucky to narrowly escape in the Christchurch mosque shooting incident.
According to Mashud, it seemed like they were watching a movie just in front of them when they witnessed seeing bleeding people running out of the building to escape the shooter while the team was hauled up in the bus just a few yards away from the mosque.
“We were very close to the mosque. We could see the mosque. We are lucky in the sense that if we had arrived three-four minutes earlier we would have been on the mosque and then it could have been a massive accident,’’ Mashud told reporters at Christchurch.
“We were lucky that we were not inside but from outside we saw it and it was quite similar like a VDO movie. We saw people coming out of the mosque surrounded with blood. We were in the bus for eight to 10 minutes and we were lying down inside at that point as we felt if they saw us inside the bus they might come out and attack,’’ he said.
“At that point, the players decided that they should come out of the bus considering if the terrorist comes out and come to the bus they will start firing seeing so many people inside the bus and then it might turn out to be a massive accident,’’ he added.
Players from the Bangladesh team only just managed to escape the shooting incident at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch before they safely made it back to their hotel.
The incident (along with another shooting at a different mosque) which New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: "can only be described as a terrorist attack" claimed 40 lives with a further 20 being injured.
It led to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the New Zealand Cricket Board agreeing to cancel the scheduled third Test at the Hagley Oval on Saturday (March 16).
According to the eye witness, Bangladesh team bus just arrived at the mosque near the ground and player got down from the bus to complete their Jumma prayer when a wounded woman came out from the mosque and felt in front of them.
Bangladeshi cricketers did not understand about the incident immediately and was about to enter the mosque when a woman from a car near the team bus shouted and said don’t get into the mosque because firing took place inside the mosque and a bullet even hit my car.
Players got back into the but were scared immediately as there was neither any liaison officer nor security officials with them in the bus.
After staying inside the bus for some time they decided to come out of it and walk back to the ground. They were scared as the distance was not very small. They decided to get into the Hagley Park to reduce the distance.
According to some players if the press conference of Mahmudullah did not got delayed they would have been inside the mosque when the firing took place. The press conference was expected to end on 1:30 but eventually it got completed at 1:40 and this ten minutes delay is said to have helped them to escape from the tragedy.
Team manager Khaled Mashud and analyst Srinivas Iyer were also with the players inside the bus while the rest of the coaching staff apart from head coach Steve Rhodes, who was in the ground was in the hotel.
After arriving at the dressing room the players got panicked not seeing Liton Kumar Das and Nayeem Hasan who stayed back at the hotel. They only got relieved after learning that they are in the hotel. After being confined in the dressing room for two hours they were taken back to the team hotel by a special escort and since where asked to remain inside the hotel.
“I am sure it is not related with cricket. As far as we could see all it seemed was that the entire episode was staged for something else. We don’t like it and as a player or a human being we don’t expect this kind of accident should take place. We want to play and it was unfortunate that we missed a Test match but the prevailing condition forced us to return back,’’ said Mashud.
“There is no final decision taken yet regarding our return. The tickets need to be arranged if it was one or two guys than it could have been arranged easily. But are probably 19 persons who will get back to Dhaka. Some coach might go to West Indies while some are expected to return to South Africa. They might get the single ticket quickly. But we will try to go as quickly as possible even if that means some are flying earlier while others are following them in the next available flight,’’ he said.
“It's very normal that a human being will break down when he see a terrorist attack happening in front of him or you are watching people are coming out with blooded clothes. It is very normal that anyone can be shocked because at that point no one was sure that this won’t happen to him,’’ said I saw some of the players were crying in the bus… what could be done, how to get out of here. It is very difficult. It effects on our psychology,’’ he said.
“We decided not to go out of the hotel because this can happen anywhere and we don’t want that we should carry any such thing with us. They are briefed that they need to complete the dinner inside the hotel,’’ he said.
“Every player is currently staying in one room together and basically we tried to divert their mind to other thing but at the end of the day when you see this kind of thing it is natural that will be the major topic of discussion,’’ he added.
According to reports, three people are in custody following the shootings, with schools and government buildings going into lockdown. The police authorities urged the people of Christchurch to stay indoors. The New Zealand Cricket Board has revealed that it will make all the arrangements to ensure the Bangladesh team returns home as quickly as possible.