No fewer than 15 persons have been killed after some gunmen reportedly in military uniform attacked houses on Rukuba Road, in the Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.
While eight members of a family of 10 were killed in the first attack, two residents of an adjoining compound lost their lives in the onslaught.
It was learnt that the gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen invaded the area in the early hours of Friday.
The scene of the attack was a few kilometers from the 3rd Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army in Jos.
According to Punch, the gunmen struck in the night when the victims were asleep. It was said that a teenage boy and his father managed to escape, but his mother and seven other members of the family were not lucky.
After killing them, the gunmen reportedly scaled the fence to the next compound where they killed two other persons.
A protest erupted on Friday morning when the boy identified a soldier at a military post in the area as one of the assailants. During the protest, five youths were reportedly killed by soldiers while several others were injured.
It was gathered that angry youths attacked the military post, but were repelled by soldiers who allegedly shot at them. The youths were also said to have marched to a police station in the community and set it ablaze, burning some vehicles.
A community leader, Chief Austin Ogbonna, who narrated the incident to one of our correspondents on the telephone, said many residents had fled the community.
Ogbonna said, “The gunmen were in military uniform. They attacked the family at night. A boy and his father escaped. They hid around the soak away in their house. But the boy’s mother and about seven other members of the family were unable to escape. They were massacred.
“The gunmen went to the next residence. They killed an Igbo man and one other person. Nobody knows their mission. In the morning, the boy identified one of the assailants at a military post close to where the incident happened.
That triggered a protest. People attacked the military post and soldiers responded with gunshots. That was how the whole thing escalated.
“Five protesters were killed while several others were seriously injured and rushed to hospitals. The number of death may increase. Youths set ablaze Kabong Police Post in Gada Biu and vehicles parked around there were burnt.”
Ogbonna added that the tragedy had paralysed commercial activities in the community, adding that a curfew had been imposed on the area.
Meanwhile, the Special Military Taskforce, codenamed Operation Safe Haven, on Friday confirmed that 11 persons were killed during the attack.
The OPSH in a statement by its spokesperson, Major Umar Adams, said the killings had taken place before soldiers arrived at the scene.
The Commander of OPSH, Maj. Gen. Augustine Agundu, denied that protesters were killed by soldiers.
The spokesperson for the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, confirmed that there were casualties, but did not give the exact statistics.