New Zealand mosque shooting: Christchurch victims officially named as first funerals take place

Jon Sharman
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New Zealand mosque shooting: Christchurch victims officially named as first funerals take place

New Zealand police have formally released the names of some of those killed in the Christchurch mosque shootings, as the first funerals of victims took place.

The first two people to be buried following the attacks that killed 50 people were a father and his son, 44-year-old Khalid Mustafa and Hamza Mustafa, 15.

The teen was a student at Cashmere High School and was compassionate and hard-working, according to principal Mark Wilson. Hamza was an excellent horse rider who aspired to be a veterinarian, Mr Wilson said.

His younger brother, Zaed, 13, suffered gunshot wounds to the leg and attended the burial in a wheelchair. The family had fled the Syrian civil war and moved to New Zealand last year, having been told it was “the safest country in the world”, local media reported.

On Wednesday mourners carried the bodies to a a specially-constructed grave site where hundreds gathered to watch.

Five other people were officially named by police. They were: Kamel Mohammed Kamal Kamel Darwish, 38, from Jordan; Hati Mohemmed Doud Nabi, 71; Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi, 63; Junaid Ismail, 36; and Mucaad Ibrahim, three. The latter four victims were from New Zealand.

Police commissioner Mike Bush said police had now formally identified and released the bodies of 21 people to family members.

He said officers hoped to finish formally identifying most victims by the end of the day but added that some would take longer.

It came after Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, visited Cashmere High School, where two of the victims were students. Along with Hamza Mustafa, 14-year-old Sayyad Milne was killed in the attacks last week.

In a speech Ms Ardern renewed her call for people to focus on the victims rather than the perpetrator. She has vowed not to say the attacker’s name.

Additional reporting by agencies