Huzef Vohra is haunted by flashbacks. The roar of a motorcycle, a loud bang, a whistle-like snore — they catapult the civil engineer back to March 15, to the bottom of a pile of bodies in the corner of Al Noor Mosque. In the disoriented rush that followed a gunman opening fire there, Vohra, 21, charged toward an exit but was quickly caught in the stampede to escape, NBC News reports.
“People toppled on top of me,” he said. “I was trapped.”
Six months later, Vohra and many others in New Zealand are still grappling with a pair of attacks on two Christchurch mosques, Al Noor and the Linwood Islamic Center. Authorities have described the massacre as an act of terror carried out by a suspected white supremacist, who will face trial next year. With a death toll of 51, March 15 marks the worst atrocity in New Zealand’s modern history.
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As relatives mourn the dead and survivors adjust to life after the attack, New Zealand’s leaders have responded with a slate of sweeping policy changes. A mandatory gun buyback has netted more than 19,000 semi-automatic weapons, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s effort to eliminate violent extremism online has been embraced by a handful of big tech companies, as well as more than a dozen countries including the United Kingdom, India and Australia. On Friday, a bill was introduced that would track all the guns in the country through a new register.