New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Aldern has addressed the nation after the horrifying reports earlier today of a mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques earlier this afternoon.

Speaking just before she departed for Wellington for further briefing from police and security agencies, Ardern described the shooting as “an unprecedented act of violence” and that today “is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

“I would describe it as an unprecedented act of violence,” the prime minister said in response to a question from a journalist.

“An act which has no place in New Zealand – this is not who we are.”

Of the people who were attacked, Ardern said that “New Zealand is their home,” and that “they should have felt safe here.”

The prime minister was unable to provide much in the way of information, as very little has been confirmed about the shooter or even how many people were killed and injured in the attack. “I’m not currently in a position to confirm casualties or injuries,” she said.

In her remarks, she focused on the specific targeting of the attack:

Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.

They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was.

Earlier, police confirmed there have been multiple fatalities and at least one person is in custody.

“As soon as I leave here, I will be returning directly to Wellington,” Ardern said.

“Agencies are convening in Wellington.”

We will keep you updated as more information comes to light.

Image: ABC