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Evangelical Church, Boukoki, Niger
Photo: Samaritan's Purse

New buildings have emerged in Niger from the rubble of churches that were destroyed three years ago in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, France. On the weekend of January 16th and 17th in 2015, more than 70 churches were ransacked by hundreds of militant Islamists who were angered that Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, joined by five other African heads of state, met in Paris for meetings. A previous prayer alert report on the destruction and chaos that took place in Niger may be reviewed here.

An issue of the Charlie Hebdo French satirical magazine -- showing the prophet Muhammad in an inappropriate manner -- reinforced this anger and triggered the protest, which quickly turned into anti-Christian violence. Now three years later, most of the destroyed churches have been rebuilt, and the resulting joy and celebration have replaced the former distress and sorrow experienced by Niger's minority Christian population.

Sabo Batchiri, General Secretary of the Alliance of Evangelical Churches and Missions in Niger, stated that the reconstruction of the churches has strengthened the faith of many Christians: "As it's written in the Bible, 'God has risen beauty from ashes.' It's a great encouragement for the people of God that the majority of the destroyed churches have been rebuilt." As the reconstruction process continues, our prayer is that all those affected by the violence will not only find their churches restored, but their hearts and minds as well.