Following the grim event that unfolded at a supermarket in New Zealand on Friday, in which, a knife-wielding militant, known to the authorities, stabbed and wounded seven people, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to tighten the country’s counter-terrorism laws.
“I am committing, that as soon as Parliament resumes, we will complete that work – that means working to pass the law as soon as possible, and no later than by the end of this month,” Ardern told a news conference
The 32 year old attacker, a Sri Lankan national, was killed in his encounter with the police. The man was earlier convicted and imprisoned before being released in July.
Ardern said the man’s actions were inspired by the Islamic State militant group and was being closely monitored by authorities. However, he could not be kept in prison by law any longer.
The Counter Terrorism Bill is set to criminalize the planning and preparation that might lead to a terror attack. However, considering the nature of Friday’s attack, law alone will not be able to prevent such incidents to occur.
“This was a highly motivated individual who used a supermarket visit as a shield for an attack. That is an incredibly tough set of circumstances,” said Ardern.
Police were following the man to Countdown supermarket in New Lynn Mall in Auckland. A regular day shopping but he picked up a knife from a display and started stabbing people.
Police said they shot him within a minute of the start of the attack.
Supermarket group Countdown said on Saturday it had removed knives and scissors from its shelves and is considering whether or not it would continue to sell them.
“We want all of our team to feel safe when they come to work,” said Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s general manager for safety said in a media statement.
Other supermarket chains had also removed sharp knives from their shelves, media reported.