At least five persons were killed in riots across Niger on Saturday, when protesters burned churches and cars in protests against the latest issue of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that carried a cartoon of Prophet Muhammed on its cover.
The Guardian reports that Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou confirmed that all five dead were civillians and four of them were burned to death when protesters lighted churches and bars.
Muslims constitute a majority in Niger's population of 17 million people.
In protests across the West African nation, ten people have been killed in two days. On Friday, five persons died and 45 were injured just within Zinder, Niger's largest city, when protesters hit a French cultural centre and cafe.
It is reported that at least six churches were set on fire or looted in Niamey and other regional towns.The protesters are also targeting bars, hotels and businesses under non-Muslim ownership.
Issoufou, who was one of the six African heads to walk the unity march in France on 11 January, condemned the violence and appealed for calm. "Those who loot these places of worship, who desecrate them and kill their Christian compatriots... have understood nothing of Islam," BBC quoted him as saying after Saturday's violence.
The latest edition of the French newspaper had a tearful Prophet Muhammed holding up a "Je Suis Charlie" ("I Am Charlie") sign, the rallying cry of free speech defenders around the world, and a message below that reads "Tout Est Pardonne." ("All Is Forgiven.").
Any depiction of Prophet Muhammed is considered offensive by Muslims.
Amid the protests, France's president François Hollande reiterated his country's commitment to freedom of expression, saying it was "non-negotiable."