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Dura-Du, Pond of Death

The Garrison Commander, 3 Armoured Division Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Rukuba, near Jos Brigadier General Umar Mohammed led journalists to the opened shallow grave in Dura-Du, Jos south local government area of Plateau State.

Until sometime in September this year, most Nigerians didn’t know much about Du district in Plateau’s Jos South local government area except that former State Governor Jonah David Jang and the Gbong Gwom Jos, Jacob Gyang Buba hailed from the area.  The disappearance of retired Major General Idris Alkali in the area changed all that. The former Chief of Administration at Army Headquarters was later found to have been killed, apparently by youths in the area.

The entire area of Dura-Du, Doi-Du and Lafendeg in Du district gained significant attention when the military said it had narrowed its search for Alkali to the area and that his vehicle may have been dumped in an old mining pond in Dura-Du. The  recovery of the vehicle and two others belonging to travellers who are presumed dead earned the pond the infamous nickname, ‘Pond of Death.’

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It is uncertain how far back silent killings around Dura-Du pond go but the discovery of the Toyota Hiace Bus belonging to a missing 21 year old who went missing in June and the Rover vehicle of Alh. Lawal Isa who disappeared in 2013 is an indication that such atrocity had gone either unnoticed or without thorough investigations. There are fears that many had gone missing while traveling along that area and this fear is further aggravated by the numerous mining ponds and pits in Du.

This is not the first time travellers have been attacked and killed along Plateau roads as reports of deadly sectarian crisis around 2001, 2008, and 2011 in the city centre as well as those in the hinterlands often times sparked a reprisal in which locals block major highways and launched retaliatory attacks on innocent travelers based on ethno-religious profiling.

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But families of victims killed along Dura-Du allege that community leaders sometimes collude with criminals to lure unsuspecting travelers to the area. Yusuf Abubakar’s claim that his uncle, Alh. Lawal Isa was lured to be killed by a community leader in the area had been re-echoed by Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Buratai, who said “the action or inaction of elders can be classified as one of the contributory sources that has rather emboldened the youths to maim and kill innocent passers-by at their whims and caprices.”

Former General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Jos Major General Benson Akinroluyo said though “the killing of General Alkali was committed by a few, it was concealed and sponsored by the entire community.” Dura-Du gained much national and international notoriety due to the Alkali case, but there are many more Dura-Du’s around the country.

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