Christians in Niger on edge after church burnings
Believers under pressure after 45 Churches are burnt. Government arrests 90 violent protestors. Reports come in about Islamists marking Christian homes.
Daily Mail, BBC, CBNNews · Lagos · 20 JANUARY 2015 · 22:25 CET
Religious tensions are escalating once again in Niger, days after Islamic protesters torched at least 45 churches, a Christian school and a orphanage. French cultural centres and shops were burnt too. 10 people lost their lives during the protests and more than 170 people were injured.
According to CBN News, reports started coming in about “men are going around on motorcycles, marking Christian homes in the capital city of Niamey”.
On the other side, informations speak of the Government taking back control: some 90 violent protestors have been arrested in the last days and the administration declared three days of mourning starting last monday.
The violence has been fueled by Islamic anger over the French Charlie Hebdo magazine that posted another cartoon of Mohammed.
WHY THIS VIOLENT OUTRAGE?
Niger's population is 99% Muslim, so it wasn't a surprise that there was a reaction to Charlie Hebdo's caricature.
“But what was surprising was the scale of the subsequent protests and violence”, according to an analysis of the BBC. “Similar demonstrations in the past have been conducted peacefully, and even the authorities could not come up with an answer as to why the latest riots turned ugly”.
“One school of thought is that protesters were angry about their president attending the solidarity march of world leaders in Paris after the attack on Charlie Hebdo's office. A second theory is that the violence was fuelled as much by politics as religious grievance - an idea given credence by the fact that protests started in the opposition stronghold of Zinder. The last and the most complex theory relates to Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group from neighbouring Nigeria”.
NIger is a former french colony.