Police in New Zealand are hunting an “active” gunman amid reports of a mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch.
Armed police have been deployed in the city centre, and all schools in the area have been placed on lockdown.
“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
“Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.”
It is unclear how many people may have been injured, but one witness told the AP news agency that he heard dozens of gunshots.
Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque – followed by people running from the building in terror.
He also claimed that he saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived.
Police did not comment on whether the incident took place inside the mosque or nearby.
“Horrified to hear of Christchurch mosque shootings. There is never a justification for that sort of hatred,” said Amy Adams, a member of parliament from Christchurch.
The Bangladesh cricket team is currently in Christchurch to play New Zealand in a third cricket test starting on Saturday.
The team’s strength and conditioning coach, Mario Villavarayen, was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald that the team was close to where the shooting occurred, but was safe.
“The players are shaken up but fine, he was quoted as saying.