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The Yelwa massacre took place on May 2, 2004, in Yelwa, Nigeria. According to reports more than 630 Muslims were killed by Christians.[1] Christian men and boys surrounded Yelwa and many were bare-chested; others wore shirts on which they’d reportedly pinned white name tags identifying them as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, an umbrella organization founded in the 1970s to give Christians a collective and unified voice as strong as that of Muslims. Each tag had a number instead of a name: a code, it seemed, for identification. They attacked the town. According to Human Rights Watch, 660 Muslims were massacred over the course of the next two days, including the patients in the Al-Amin clinic. Twelve mosques and 300 houses went up in flames. Young girls were marched to a nearby Christian town and forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. Many were raped, and 50 were killed.[1]

More than 10 000 people have died in fighting since Olusegun Obasanjo was elected as the president of Nigeria 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.

But it has been stoked by religious hatred and the sense among the Christian population that Muslims are outsiders in Plateau.

Survivors of the Yelwa massacre said they had buried 630 corpses in several mass graves around the remote market town after Sunday's attack. It was not possible to confirm the figure independently, but a senior police officer spoke of "hundreds" dead.

Presidential spokeswoman Remi Oyo said 630 dead was an exaggeration, but offered no further information.

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