Attackers ransacked, looted and burned a church in the Kossey district of Niger’s capital Niamey on 11 October, leaving the building a charred shell, its floor covered with debris and broken and blackened musical instruments.
Niger’s tiny Christian minority make up less than 1% of the population, but had traditionally lived peacefully and unthreatened alongside the large Muslim majority. The rise of jihadist groups in the Sahel region, including Boko Haram, Islamic State in West Africa and groups affiliated with Al Qaeda has led to an escalation in tension.
In 2015, more than 70 churches in Niger were destroyed when Muslim mobs attacked Christian places of worship following publication of a cartoon of Muhammad on the front cover of the French Charlie Hebdo magazine. Barnabas Fund financed the repair and reconstruction of five of the worst affected churches. There were a number of further attacks on churches in 2017, which resulted in the deaths of four Christians and in January 2018, three church leaders were kidnapped.
Barnabas Fund’s contact closed their message by asking for prayer for the congregation and the church leader, Pastor Eduard: “Please pray that the Lord supports them and safeguards the churches of Niger.”
From Barnabas Fund contacts