Christians in Niger still recovering from attacks on churches after Charlie Hebdo massacre

Man burns tire in violence against Christians in response to the a Charlie Hebdo cover.Photo: Reuters/Tagaza Djibo

Christians in Niger are still recovering from violent attacks in January carried out in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre that resulted in the destruction of dozens churches throughout the country.

French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad and its Paris offices were subsequently attacked on January 7 by two Muslim gunmen, killing 12 people.

In retaliation for the attack, Charlie Hebdo published a provocative cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad that triggered attacks against Christians and their churches in Niger on January 17.

Angry mobs of Muslims burned and destroyed a total of 69 churches as well as countless Christian homes, and killed 10 people in the violence that reached the country's capital, Niamey.

Three months later, CBN News revealed, Christians are still working to rebuild their churches and their relationships with their Muslim neighbours. 

Boureima Kimso, head of the Alliance of the Evangelical Churches in Niger, was stoic in his response, saying that Christians should be encouraged in the face of persecution as it is a normal experience for the Church.

"We have to encourage ourselves because persecution is part of the life of the Church. There is no church that existed without persecution," Kimso told CBS News senior reporter George Thomas.

The wife of a pastor whose home was burned by the mob says that she has prayed and has forgiven the people who carried out the destruction on their church and property. 

"My prayer is that they would come to know Jesus and that the Lord would touch them even in a dream," Ruth Jadi said.

Ruth also added that she prays for God  to touch them the way he touched Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, for persecuting the early Christians.

Musa Issa, pastor of Bethel Horizon Church in Niamey that was also destroyed in the attacks, said that threats continue but he believes they are only tests from God.

"The Lord is training us; He's building us. There cannot be increase without hardships," he said.