May 2, 2004
The Yelwa Massacre begins
In February, Muslims in Yelwa killed approximately 78 Christians, the majority of whom were worshipping in church. The Christian community retaliated by killing approximately 630 Muslims over two days between May 2 to May 3. The attackers used a variety of weapons, including guns, knives, machetes, and bows and arrows. At least one person was killed with a spear. Fires were also set to contain and kill.
Officials also noted 370 people were abducted during the massacre, primarily children from infants to teens and women. The surviving captives were gradually released, some held for months before their release. Many women reported being raped repeatedly and kept as “wives.” They also stated they were forced to eat pork and alcohol, both forbidden by their religion. Abducted children were tasked with labor or small chores, such as farming or fetching water.
Another attack on Christians occurred on May 18, allegedly in retaliation for the May 2-3 massacre.
Fearing the cyclical nature of retaliations, Muslim families fled the areas to neighboring states. By June 2004, between 40,000 and 60,000 had left; by early 2005, only a few thousand remained.