Islamist militants invaded a church meeting in Dolbel, about 50 km from Niger’s capital Niamey, shooting the minister as they made off with a stolen car, according to Barnabas Fund contacts.
The armed attackers forced their way into the church during a women’s meeting. They demanded to be taken to the minister’s office where they stole car keys, before loading the minister’s car up with food and other looted items.
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 Niger
As they left, they confronted the minister and shot him three times – in the chest, hip and foot. He is being treated in an intensive care unit in a hospital in Naimey. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
In October 2018, a church building in the Kossey district of Naimey was burned out and looted by attackers.
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.
From Barnabas Fund contacts
Source: Barnabas Fund