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16 Mar, 2019 18:49

New Zealand shooting suspect’s worldwide trips investigated

New Zealand shooting suspect’s worldwide trips investigated

The Australian accused of the deadly shooting at two mosques in New Zealand traveled around the globe, including Eastern Europe, Turkey, Pakistan and probably North Korea. Authorities in several countries are probing his trips.

Before his shooting spree left 50 worshipers dead and 40 people injured in Christchurch on Friday, Brenton Harrison Tarrant published a manifesto where the 28-year-old mentioned visiting Pakistan, North Korea, Turkey, France, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Iceland, Argentina and many other countries. Now, some of these states are investigating what he might have done there and whether he picked up his radical ideas during his travels.


One of those countries is the UK, as the gunman called for the murder of London mayor Sadiq Khan. Tarrant accused Khan of working to "replace" the majority-white British people with Muslims. MI5 is now looking into Tarrant's possible links to far-right radicals in Britain that he might have established during his European visits.

The bodybuilder and personal trainer from a small Aussie town wrote that he was able to fund his many travels after successfully investing in cryptocurrency.


Bulgarian security and intelligence chiefs held an emergency meeting following the Christchurch shooting, as the Eastern European country was one of Tarrant's most recent destinations.

The gunman was in Bulgaria between November 9 and 15 last year "to visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan country," Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov, told the media.

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Bulgarian sources told the New Zealand Herald that inscriptions on the rifle magazines found at the scene of the shooting were made in Cyrillic, and included the names of famous battles and historical figures from the Balkans, who fought against the Ottoman Empire. The wars against Ottoman Turks were also a source of inspiration for Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik.

Tarrant arrived to Bulgarian capital Sofia on a flight from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. He rented a car there and visited a host of local towns, Sofia Globe reported. 

The man then flew from Sofia to the Romanian capital of Bucharest, from where he traveled to neighboring Hungary by car, the outlet added.


Tarrant visited Turkey at least two times, staying an “exended period of time in the country," an unnamed Turkish official told TRTWorld. His visits took place in 2016, before and after the failed Turkish coup in mid-July.

In his manifesto, the gunman urged the recapture of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia from the Muslims and the assassination of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Turkish law enforcers are looking into Tarrant's activities in the country as they believe he arrived "to carry out a terror attack and/ or an assassination," the source said. People of Turkish origin were among the victims of the Christchurch mosque shooting.

According to the official, the man may have also travelled from Turkey to third countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.


An owner of a hotel in Nagar valley in Northern Pakistan has told the media that Tarrant was one of his guests in October 2018. He said that the man travelled alone and looked "humble."

The owner shared a picture of a man he claimed was Tarrant, holding a camera in front of his face, but the image couldn't be independently verified.

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There's also a photo circulating online, allegedly showing the Christchurch attacker at the Samjiyon Grand Monument in North Korea.

New Zealand

It's not clear if Tarrant was looking for a target during his travels and why Christchurch mosque eventually became the venue of the attack. New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern said that the gunman stayed in the country for "sporadic periods of time." He wasn't a resident of Christchurch when the massacre took place, being "based in Dunedin," she added.

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