Yelwa massacre

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The Yelwa massacre was a series of related incidents of mass violence between Muslims and Christians which took place in Yelwa, Nigeria between February and May 2004. These incidents killed over 700 people.[1] The first 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.[1] According to some sources, the signal for the attack was a call for Jihad from the local mosque.[2]

The February killings inflamed tensions between the communities which had been growing 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.[1] According to some sources, Muslim girls were forced to eat pork and other foods forbidden to Muslims and some were even raped.[2]


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.[3] 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.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Revenge in the Name of Religion", Human Rights Watch, 26 May 2005.
  2. ^ a b "God's Country", The Atlantic March 2008.
  3. ^ BBC profile of Nigeria. BBC News (16 May 2013).
  4. ^ "Nigerian Muslims struggle to cope after village massacre", The Guardian (8 May 2004).

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