Terror revisits New Zealand
Kiwis are asking questions about how a 32yo Sri Lankan refugee was living in New Zealand after he was identified as dangerous. Ahamed Aathill Mohammad Samsudeen wounded 7 people in a terrorist attack in Auckland on Friday afternoon using a knife he’d picked up in a supermarket. Samsudeen was shot and killed within a minute of the attack starting by authorities who were monitoring him. A Tamil Muslim, he was a known supporter of the Islamic State and had been a person of ‘national security interest’ since 2016. Three of the victims are in critical condition, but all are expected to survive the attack.
WHO WAS HE?
While his name had been suppressed from reporting for years, he’s said to have been “New Zealand’s worst-kept secret”. Samsudeen came to the attention of authorities in 2016 when he posted videos online supporting violent Islamist ideology. In 2017, he was arrested as he tried to leave New Zealand – authorities said he was trying to get to Syria to fight with IS. And he had recently been sentenced to one year of supervision for possessing IS propaganda and plotting a ‘lone wolf’ terror attack using knives. A decision on revoking his refugee status and deportation was pending. Officials say they had no reason to think he was planning an attack on Friday, and those keeping an eye on him believed he was simply out to do his grocery shopping.
SO WHY WAS HE LIVING IN THE COMMUNITY?
That’s the question Kiwis have been asking since Friday. New Zealand’s counter-terror laws say that planning a terror attack is not in itself an offence. Those laws are due to be overhauled in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks. Until then, Ardern says that “every tool” available to authorities had been used “to protect innocent people from this individual”. Samsudeen’s family, who do not live in New Zealand, said they were “thinking of the boy who left us and the innocent people. Our lives have changed forever.” PM Scott Morrison tweeted “Kia kaha New Zealand”. Stay strong.
Image source: Getty
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