Singapore leaders express condolences after Christchurch terrorist attack

A police officer cordons off the area close to the Al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.
A police officer cordons off the area close to the Al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore's leaders expressed their condolences on Friday (March 15) after the terrorist attack in Christchurch that occurred earlier the same day.

At least forty-nine people were killed and dozens injured in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand's second-largest city of Christchurch, an incident which the country's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called on Friday "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

In Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's condolence letter to Ms Ardern, he said he was shocked to learn of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday. "Precious, innocent lives were lost, and many were injured," PM Lee said.

He added that on behalf of the Singapore Government, he expressed his deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims and the people of New Zealand.

PM Lee also said that Singapore strongly condemns Friday's vicious and mindless act of terror.

"This heinous act is an attempt to spread fear and hatred. We must not allow such acts to divide our societies," he said, adding that Singapore stands in solidarity with New Zealand in the fight against terrorism.

PM Lee said he was confident that under Ms Ardern's leadership, New Zealand would stay resilient and united during this difficult time.

 
 
 

President Halimah Yacob also wrote to Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy to express her condolences on Friday.

"I was appalled to learn of the attacks on Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid in Christchurch on March 15, 2019," she said.

"On behalf of the people of Singapore, I convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims, and wish those injured a swift recovery."

Madam Halimah said that Singapore strongly condemns this "senseless act of violence against innocent civilians at places of worship".

"Our thoughts and prayers are with New Zealand during this difficult time," she said.

In a letter to New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters, Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that the Christchurch terrorist attack was an "unforgivable act of violence that goes against the principles of harmony and tolerance".

Dr Balakrishnan said that he was shocked to learn of the shootings, but added that he was confident that the New Zealand government would deal decisively with the situation.

The shootings in Christchurch had forced the country's government to place New Zealand on its highest security threat level.

Police said all mosques in the country were asked to close their doors, and Christchurch was also initially placed under lockdown.

Three people are in police custody, and a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday.

Of the 49 people confirmed dead, 41 were killed at Al Noor Mosque and seven killed at Linwood Mosque. Another died in Christchurch Hospital, where dozens, including children, are being treated.