10 Dead, Churches Torched In Niger Protests

10 Dead, Churches Torched In Niger Protests10 Dead, Churches Torched In Niger Protests

At least 10 people were killed and churches set on fire after two days of violent uproar in Niger as protesters took part in demonstrations against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, AP reported, citing the country’s president.

The news agency quoted Mahamadou Issoufou, the president of Niger, as saying that five civilians died in the capital city of Niamey on Saturday. Additionally, five people, one of them a policeman, were killed in Zinder, the second largest city in the country, on Friday.

“Those who pillage religious sites and profane them, those who persecute and kill their Christian compatriots or foreigners who live on our soil, have understood nothing of Islam,” Niger’s president said in a televised address. He stated that authorities would investigate the incidents and promised to punish those responsible.

The demonstrations against Charlie Hebdo were sparked after the satirical weekly published more controversial anti-Islam cartoons.

Around 1,000 youths wielding iron bars, clubs and axes rampaged through the Niger capital, hurling rocks at police who responded with tear gas.

Two charred bodies were recovered from a church on the outskirts of Niamey, and the body of a woman was also found.

The population of the West African country is largely Muslim. Opposition groups have called on people to take part in a march on Sunday. However, the event was banned by the authorities.

Many world leaders condemned both the brutal attack on the office of the satirical weekly, as well as the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.