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

Sunday Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Lami Sadiq and Dickson S.Adama, Jos

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

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