Charlie Hebdo Protests Sweep Across Muslim Countries in Africa

Niger said four people died in protests over the publication of cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad by French magazine Charlie Hebdo just over a week after journalists working for the publication were killed in Paris.

Sudan and Mauritania also reported demonstrations, Kenya threatened to close a newspaper for reprinting the cartoon and Benin said the depiction was a provocation.

The protests follow the Jan. 7 attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris in which gunmen killed 12 people at the satirical magazine that frequently mocked Islam with its cartoons.

In the Nigerien City of Zinder, the west African country’s second-largest settlement, police shot dead two protesters while another died after inhaling teargas and a gendarme was killed, Interior Minister Massaoudou Hassoumi said on state-owned radio. Churches were burned, the police headquarters were attacked and a French cultural center was set on fire with a total of 45 protesters and police injured.

In the Sudanese capital of Khartoum protesters gathered outside the French embassy and demanded the expulsion of the ambassador, according to television reports, while in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott thousands of protesters assembled for the second time of three days and burned a French flag and tried to march on the embassy.

Niger, Sudan and Mauritania are predominantly Muslim while Kenya and Benin have substantial Muslim minorities.

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