No fewer than 14 people were killed by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in Hwak community of Kwata ward in Zawan district of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau.
There has been a relative calm in the violent-prone state for nearly two years.
The incident, which was said to have occurred at about 7.30pm in the evening of Sunday, also left about five persons wounded and receiving medical attention in an undisclosed hospital.
This is coming as the Special Task Force on security in Jos has raised the alarm over impending attacks on Jos and environs during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
It was gathered that among the victims were five Internally Displaced Persons who moved from Bachit district to Hwak two months ago.
The gunmen, a community source said, were relatively young boys that stormed the community and went from house to house, killing families.
The usual victims included husbands, wives and their children. Where parents escaped, the children were not spared.
One of the injured persons, identified as Daniel Babuje, had his wife and four children killed while another victim, identified as Danborqng Babuye, was killed along with his wife. But his children escaped.
According to a resident of the community, Mr. John Dalyop, some Fulani herdsmen had written to warn the community of Kwata, Trade Centre and Kuru that they were not going to enjoy a peaceful Christmas, but the communities took the warning for granted.
But on Sunday, the hoodlums made good their threat when they attacked about six families.
Dalyop said the attackers, who arrived in the community at about 7.30pm, broke into their houses and attacked the occupants.
“They hacked down helpless children and women, leaving them in a pool of blood. Others, who tried to escape into the nearby bush, were shot by the attackers.”
Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Emmanuel Abuh, confirmed the incident.
He said that more security operatives had been drafted to the area.
Abuh said, “The Commissioner of Police has drafted men to the scene of the sad incidence and efforts are being made to arrest the perpetrators of the killings.
“We are appealing to the public to go about their normal business as the situation has been put under control,” he added.
In a related development, the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) deployed to restore law and order in Jos has informed citizens of the state of an imminent threat of attacks on the state.
According to a statement signed by the Media and Information Officer of OPSH, Capt. Ikedichi Iweha, the task force said it has at its disposal information that some persons are bent on disturbing the state through religious crisis
The statement said, “The never-do-wells behind the plot to destabilise and disrupt the peace being enjoyed are angered by the unsuccessful attack on the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, by the Shiite Islamic sect in Zaria in Kaduna State. The OPSH reiterates its determination to prevent a relapse to an era of crisis and violence and would take all necessary measures in line with its mandate to prevent any form of loss of life or property.”
“Similarly, the task force uses this medium to warn the enemies of peace, especially around Riyom and Barkin Ladi local government areas.
“The task force, while assuring residents within its area of operational responsibility of their safety at all times, however would like to warn troublemakers to desist forthwith or be ready to endure a heavy hand from security agencies. It will be assuring that any information provided about these never do wells would be treated with absolute confidentiality,” the statement added.