The so-called Yelwa massacre was actually a series of related incidents of mass violence between Muslims and Christians which took place in Yelwa, Nigeria between February and May 2004 killing over 700 people. The first incident in the series occurred on 4 February 2004 when armed Muslims attacked the Christians of Yelwa killing more than 78 Christians including at least 48 who were worshipping inside a church compound. According to some sources, the signal for the attack was a call for Jihad from the local mosque.
The February killings inflamed tensions between the communities which had simmered since the 2001 Jos riots when conflict between Muslims and Christians resulted in 1,000 dead. On 2 May 2004 local Christians responded to the February incident by attacking Muslims in Yelwa resulting in roughly 630 dead. According to some sources, Muslim girls were forced to eat pork and other foods forbidden to Muslims and some were even raped.
Thousands of people have died in fighting since the passage of Sharia law in the Muslim dominated northern region after a return to civilian rule in 1999. The origin of the conflict between the Christian Tarok and the Muslim Fulani is rooted in their competing claims over the fertile farmlands of Plateau State in central Nigeria.
- "Revenge in the Name of Religion", Human Rights Watch, 26 May 2005.
- "God's Country", The Atlantic March 2008.
- BBC profile of Nigeria. BBC News (16 May 2013).
- "Nigerian Muslims struggle to cope after village massacre", The Guardian (8 May 2004).
- Eyewitness: Nigeria's 'town of death'
- Nigeria: Prevent Further Bloodshed in Plateau State – Human Rights Watch