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Niger's army repels Boko Haram attack near Nigeria border

The border town of Diffa in Niger is marked green. Credit: Google Maps

Niger's army repelled an attack by Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram on the border town of Diffa today, but fierce fighting raged at a nearby bridge that crosses over into Nigieria, military sources said.

A local resident said a bomb had exploded in Diffa's central market, but most locals had already left the streets because of the fighting, which began overnight. A death toll was not immediately available.

Niger death toll rises to eight after Charlie Hebdo protests

At least three more people have been found dead after the latest violent Charlie Hebdo protests in the capital of West African country Niger, bringing the death toll to eight following two days of violence.

Niger president Mahamadou Issoufou's presence at last week's Paris rally in support of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack has enraged citizens in his country. Credit: REUTERS/Tagaza Djibo

Police sources said two charred bodies were found inside a burned church in the outskirts of Niamey, while the body of a woman was found in a bar.

They said she was believed to have asphyxiated from tear gas and smoke.

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Police officer killed in Niger in Charlie Hebdo protest

Fires are set in Niger. Credit: Reuters

A police officer and four others have been killed during protests in Niger over French newspaper Charlie Hebdo's cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

At least two churches were burned and a police station and the home of a foreign minister were attacked. One body was discovered in a burned out Catholic church.

A man holds a sign saying: 'I am not Charlie'. Credit: Reuters

The French embassy has warned its citizens not to go on to the streets for fear of reprisal attacks.

Police said they had arrested four Muslim preachers in the capital city Niamey.

Churches torched in Niger Charlie Hebdo protests

Demonstrators behind a wall of fire after teargas was thrown. Credit: RTV

At least two churches have been torched in Niger as violent protests against the depiction of Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo continue.

Four people are known to have died during demonstrations in the country so far, while police fired tear gas at hundreds of people throwing rocks in the capital Niamey today.

A truck is shown on fire in Niamey. Credit: RTV

At least two police cars were burned in a second day of protests - with Agence France-Presse also reporting that churches were targeted.

Peaceful marches took place in the capital cities of Mali, Senegal, Mauritania and Algeria, all of which are also former French colonies in Africa.

One protester in Niger told Reuters news agency: "They offended our Prophet Mohammed, that's what we didn't like."

Niger migrants buried in mass Saharan desert grave

The migrants were fleeing Niger, the least developed country in the world according to the UN. Credit: Associated Press

Rescuers found the bodies of 92 migrants, most of them women and children, strewn across the Sahara desert in northern Niger after their vehicles broke down and they died of thirst, authorities said.

Some of the bodies of the children and adults had already started to decompose. Credit: Associated Press

Rescue workers said the bodies - 52 children, 33 women and 7 men from Niger were found near the Algerian border.

Many of the bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition, and some had been partly eaten by wild animals.

They were buried in a mass grave, close to where they died.

Rescuers dug a mass grave to gather and bury the bodies. Credit: Associated Press

Authorities said 19 of the group reached Algeria by foot and were returned to Niger.

Two survived after walking the 50 mile trek back to Arlit, a mining down in Niger, and it was there that the alarm was raised.

The mass grave in which 52 children, 33 women and seven men were laid to rest. Credit: Associated Press

Niger is ranked by the United Nations as the least developed country on earth. Every year thousands risk their lives by crossing through Northern Niger into North Africa and across the Mediterranean into Europe.

Most of those who make the perilous journey on ancient open-topped trucks are young African men in search of work.

Rescuers said the doomed convoy of women and children was puzzling.

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Bodies found in Sahara 'almost all women and children'

The 92 bodies found in the Sahara desert were almost all women and children, an aid worker involved in an attempted rescue told the Guardian.

Read: Officials 'find 92 bodies in Sahara desert'

Almoustapha Alhacen who lives in Arlit, a mining down approximately 50 miles from where the bodies were found, was alerted after survivors reached the town on foot. He said:

This is extremely difficult and the most horrible thing I have ever see.

These are women and children; they were abandoned and left to die.

We found them scattered over a large area, in small groups. Some were lying under trees, others exposed to the sun. Sometimes we found a mother and her children, some of the bodies were children alone.

They were left there for so long that their bodies are decomposed.

Some of the bodies are still there.

Dozens of migrants 'died of thirst' in Sahara desert

Dozens of migrants travelling in two vehicles have been found dead in the Sahara desert after running out of water, according to local officials.

The migrants set out on foot after the vehicles they were travelling in broke down Credit: REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

About 40 migrants, many of them women and children, were found in northern Niger close to the border with Algeria, the mayor of Agadez said. Others put the numbers higher.

The route across the Sahara desert is used by many West Africans seeking a better life in Europe or the northern countries of Africa.

A rescue worker told BBC News that the bodies were scattered across a wide area around one of the vehicles, and that some of them had been partly eaten, probably by jackals.

One survivor told the Sahara FM radio station that they had been packed "like cattle" into overcrowded vehicles and were headed for Algeria.

Report: Gunmen attack prison in capital of Niger

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a prison in the centre of Niger's capital Niamey, according to Reuters.

Ila Yaye, who lives near the prison, told Reuters: "We were sitting there when we saw these armed men start to shoot at the guards from the civilian prison. I saw several of them fall and not get back up."

The attack comes a week after al Qaeda-linked fighters launched twin attacks on a military base and a French uranium mine, witnesses said.

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