On 16 January, protests erupted in Niger’s second largest city, Zinder.
It was in response to a cartoon of the Muslim prophet Mohammed on the cover of the latest publication of Charlie Hebdo magazine in France. The protests in Zinder quickly turned violent and then spread to surrounding areas and finally the capital Niamey.
At least 10 people died in the ensuing days of violence, including three Christians who were killed while trapped in churches. Open Doors contacts have counted at least 72 churches that have been destroyed, along with several Christian schools, shops and vehicles owned by believers. Over 30 Christian homes have been looted and burnt. The fighting sent 300 of Zinder’s estimated 700 Christians fleeing, many with just the clothes on their backs.
(Warning: Graphic content – pictures show destroyed church buildings/cars)