The names of the first five identified victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack have been released by police today.
They include Hati Mohemmed Daoud Nabi, Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi, Kamel Moh’d Kamal Kamel Darwish, Junaid Ismail and three-year-old, Mucaad Ibrahim.
"Our deepest sympathies and thoughts go out to the family and friends of all the victims as they come to terms with the tragic loss of their loved ones," police say.
According to Islamic funeral rites, the body of the deceased should be buried the day following their death. Today marks five days since the Christchurch attack and only 6 out of 50 who were killed have been returned to their families.
So far, 12 victims have been identified to the satisfaction of the coroner and 6 of those had been returned to their families, police say.
Javed Dadabhai, who is assisting families with preparations for the first burial of their loved ones in Christchurch today, says it is tradition to have bodies buried after 24 hours.
“In terms of the families, it’s very difficult because there’s emotion involved and they want to get the bodies buried into the gardens as fast as possible.”
Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha says police understand the importance of culture so are working with Muslim leaders as fast as possible.
“They are mindful and understanding that this has never happened before. So if we’ve made some mistakes, we’ve certainly owned up to those mistakes and then worked with the community to keep them informed," says Haumaha.
“If you think about us as Māori we want the same thing. All we want is the tūpāpaku returned to us as quickly as possible.”
Police Commissioner Mike Bush says police have a comprehensive identification process which involves more than just visual identification visual identification, lengthening the process.
“The primary evidence we need around identification is around fingerprints, DNA and odontology. We’ve been using circumstantial and visual as part of that,” Bush said during an announcement this morning.
Police say they are working with families regarding the return of the other six identified victims.
“We are doing all we can to undertake this work as quickly as possible and return the victims to their loved ones.”
Police say further names of victims will be released as formal identifications are confirmed and all necessary notifications have been made.