ARMY RECOVERS MISSING GENERAL’S CAR IN JOS POND
Vows to Go After Killers As Officer’s 93-Year-Old Mother Says She Can’t Afford to Lose Him
The Joint Task Force constituted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai for the search and rescue operation of the former Chief of Administration at the Nigeria Army headquarters, Maj. Gen Mohammed Idris Alkali (rtd), yesterday recovered his vehicle with registration number MUN 670 AA, an old mining pond in Lafendeg, Du district of Plateau’s Jos-South Local Government Area.
The General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Major General Benson Akinroluyo and Operation Safe Haven commander, Major General Augustine Agundu, were at the Du pond yesterday evening when the badly battered vehicle of General Alkali was lifted from the water with the help of local divers.
There was nobody in the vehicle, but other items recovered from it include a blue and white striped shirt, a military T-shirt with the name I.M Alkali enscribed on it and boots. Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the car was later moved to a military facility at Rukuba Barracks.
General Agundu, while addressing pressmen said the military had persevered upon their intelligence gathering on the missing general which have paid off with the recovery of his vehicle from the pond.
He said though the unfortunate event was regretted, “General Alkali may have been caught up in the crises which rocked the area, that is the attack of gunmen on the community and the subsequent violent protest by community members the next day.”
He, however said the military would get to the bottom of the matter and treat it accordingly.
On his part, General Akinroluyo said the military would not unleash onslaught on the community following the recovery of the car, adding that, “They must, however, cooperate with us in the investigation so that the perpetrators are brought to book and to serve as deterrent to others.”
General Alkali, who retired from service 27 days before he went missing, was said to be travelling from Abuja to his farm in Bauchi in his black Toyota Corola vehicle on the 3rd of September.
A statement issued by the Nigerian Army and signed by Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, within the week stated that after the retired senior military officer was declared missing, the Army had contacted MTN and Glo network operators which furnished them with the phone records of General Alkali. The statement explained that the army had deployed appropriate technical intelligence facilities which tracked Alkali’s phone to somewhere in Du district. It had also stated that in the course of the search for him, sources had informed the military that Alkali may have been killed and his body and car dumped in a deep mining pit around Du district.
The rescue team, which has been exploring the pond, is made up of officers and soldiers from 3 Division Quick Response Team, Operation Safe Haven, Nigeria Police Force, Vehicle Inspection Officers, Fire Service, NEMA as well as local divers.
Nine days after they began pumping water from the mining pond into an opposite pond, the rescue team made a breakthrough yesterday when they recovered the vehicle. However, the fate of the retired senior military officer is still uncertain.
The operation by the mining pond had earlier been resisted by women from Du communities who dressed in black, with some half naked insisting that their communities had strong ancestral ties to the pond.
Chanting different solidarity songs in their local dialects and in Hausa, with babies strapped to their backs, the women pelted soldiers and attempted to wrestle their weapons from them in a bid to stop the operation. Mary Yakubu, who spoke on behalf the women, had said it was a taboo to tamper with the water from the pond because their husbands and children would die mysteriously.
The vehicle being lifted from the pond yesterday. Inset: Shirt, T-shirt, boots found in the vehicle
A vehicle belonging to General Idris Alkali (rtd) being winched from Jos pond yesterday