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A few minutes’ delay saves Bangladesh cricketers

  • Published at 02:02 pm March 15th, 2019
New Zealand attack
A security official stands guard outside the Masjid al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch on Friday, March 15, 2019 AFP

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said 40 people were killed in attacks on two mosques on what she described as "one of New Zealand's darkest days"

The Bangladesh cricketers were lucky to escape the terror attack at a Christchurch mosque yesterday by a fraction of minutes.

The Tigers touring New Zealand were at their final practice session at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, ahead of the third and final Test against the host nation that was to begin at the same venue Saturday.

According to Bangladesh team members, a group had decided to go to Masjid Al Noor mosque at 1:30pm New Zealand time, a few blocks away from the stadium. 

However, the scheduled time was delayed by around seven minutes due to the pre-match press conference of interim Bangladesh Test captain Mahmudullah.

“We took the bus and started from the stadium at 1.37pm. There was a delay as Mahmudullah could not finish the press conference as per the schedule,” informed Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mashud to the media Friday.

“We could see the mosque from the bus, maybe we were 50 yards away. A difference of two or three minutes could have had us in the mosque and end as a horrific incident for the team. The scene is almost like we see in the movies. People were drenched in blood and walking out from the mosque. We were laying down in the bus for almost eight to 10 minutes. But at one moment we thought the attackers might come back and can find us in the bus after which we decided to come out from the bus and walk through the park to the stadium,” Mashud added.

Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Mithun said to Dhaka Tribune that delay came in as luck to the cricketers, who had went for the payers.

“The attack happened just a few minutes before we reached the mosque. The bus stopped just on the opposite road of the mosque, a woman shouted at us not to get down from the bus as there had been an attack inside the mosque,” said Mithun.

According to the right-handed batsman, the group of cricketers laid down inside the bus for some time before making the decision to walk back to the stadium, citing that the attackers might come back.

“We walked down through the park. We could not run thinking the police or others might think of us wrong, that we might be the attackers. We walked as fast as we can. It was surely the delay of Riyad bhai (Mahmudullah) press conference that saved us from being part of the incident,” said Mithun.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said 40 people were killed in attacks on two mosques on what she described as "one of New Zealand's darkest days". 

According to the latest media reports, at least 40 were confirmed dead while many others wounded due to the incident.

The New Zealand police has made four arrests in related to the terror attack.

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