News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

Niger: Christians fear church attacks following lockdown riots

by Heather Preston
 - Banner image

Christians in Niger are fearful they could be targeted by Muslim extremists following violent protests against the country's ban on places of worship due to coronavirus.

In 2015 at least five people were killed when churches in Niger were torched during riots over the French magazine Charlie Hebdo's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.

Some Christians fear a similar response could occur after the government's recent decision to prohibit all forms of public worship.

Speaking to Catholic aid agency Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a source in Zinder - Niger's third largest city, said that rioting had followed the 12th April lockdown announcement.

"There were disturbances, first of all around 10 miles from the town of Zinder, and then in the town itself. The city was overwhelmed with the smell of burning tyres and teargas," the source said.

ACN was told that swift action by the authorities last month prevented a repeat of the targeting of churches seen during the last riots.

Bishop Ambroise Ouédraogo of Maradi told ACN that he thought Christians would not be targeted as part of the new protests: "The situation with the coronavirus is different from the Charlie Hebdo incident, because this is neither a religious nor a political conflict."

He added: "We have to be on our guard, nonetheless, as the reactions of the fundamentalist Muslim extremists are unpredictable."

To date there are 728 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Niger, with 33 people dying from the disease. 478 have recovered. 

However, there are concerns that these figures may underestimate the extent of covid 19's spread, as the healthcare system does not have the capacity to measure accurately how many people have the virus.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email