The riots in Niger's capital against Charlie Hebdo and its sympathizers are far more serious than previously reported, and sources fear an escalation.
After the terrorist attacks in Paris, the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has for some become a symbol of freedom of expression, while for others it represents something very offensive.
In the former French colony Niger demonstrations against the caricatures has taken a very violent and deadly turn.
- In Niamey the death toll is up to five, all civilians, says Niger President Issoufou on Saturday night, after two days of violent protests against the cartoons.
Several news agencies reported that eight churches had been burned down in the capital Niamey on Saturday, but information from others suggesting that as many as 40 churches may have been lit on fire.
The groups are systematically going from church to church to vandalize them.
After the riots today a total of 10 people have been killed in Niger in violent riots in the past two days, according to the AFP news agency. Demonstrators are protesting against the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, which in the latest issue again portrayed the Prophet Mohammed, and against the country's president, Issoufou, who attended a ceremony after the terrorist attacks in Paris.
A number of bars, hotels and other non-Muslim or French businesses in the capital have also been attacked.
During the riots in the town Zinder yesterday five people were killed. It is also reported that a number of Christian homes were attacked and that churches were burned down.
Niger's neighbors Nigeria, Mali, Libya and Algeria, has so far avoided riots, but now many fear that the stability is threatened.
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