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The Nigerian Army yesterday recovered the remains of the former Head of Administration, Army Headquarters, retired Major General Idris Alkali, about two months after he was declared missing on his way from Abuja to Bauchi via Jos.
The remains of Alkali were found in a sack laden with heavy stones in an abandoned well in Gwuchet village in Shen district of Jos south LGA of Plateau State, the army said.
Guchwet village was abandoned by residents at the time journalists visited. The community is less than 10 kilometres from ‘No man’s land’ in Dura-Du where the army last week traced a shallow grave in which Alkali was said to have been buried but later exhumed.
The vehicle of the retired senior military officer with registration number Kwara MUN 670 AA had also been recovered from an old mining pond in Dura-Du on September 29.
After the discovery yesterday, the officer-in-charge of the search and rescue operation for the missing general, Brigadier General Umar Mohammed, exposed the remains of Gen. Alkali from a green and white body bag for journalists to see.
The retired general was later given a military parade and carried by four other Brigadier Generals into a waiting ambulance. The remains were later deposited at an Army hospital and would be buried as soon as the army gives instructions, Mohammed said.
Earlier, Brig-Gen Mohammed, who is also the Garrison Commander 3 Armoured Division, Maxwell Kobe Cantonment, Rukuba near Jos, said the location for the abandoned well was provided by one of the eight suspects declared wanted by the police who submitted himself for interrogation.
He said the informant was one of those who participated in the relocation of the remains of the general after he was exhumed from the shallow grave in ‘No man’s land’ Dura-Du.
“One of them, who is in police custody, brought us here directly yesterday night (Tuesday). You cannot just see an abandoned well and see somebody inside, none of us has come here before but because we are working with intelligence, we were brought here and when we drained the water we found the body,” he said.
Narrating the search and rescue operation, the Garrison Commander said, “General Alkali was declared missing on the 3 of September and since that time the Nigerian army gave us three task:the first was to find General Alkali dead or alive, the second was to find his vehicle which was a Toyota Corolla and the third was if anything had happened to him, to find those responsible and ensure that they are arrested and prosecuted.”
He added that, “as you are all aware, on the 29th of September 2018 we were able to discover the vehicle; we saw his personal effects to confirm that. In the same vein last week, I called you and I showed you the shallow grave in which General Alkali was buried initially. We have declared some people wanted and based on that, some of them have reported to the police and some people who took part in the relocation brought us to where he was relocated, he was actually relocated into an abandoned well behind me here. We came here this morning, we drained the water and we were able to salvage the remains of Gen. Alkali.”
Brigadier General Mohammed further said with two out of the three tasks now completed, what is left is for all those who took part in the murder of the retired senior officer to be brought to book. “Let me tell you that nobody, no matter how connected the person is, whoever is connected with this heinous act will not go unpunished,” he said.
While thanking the police and the Nigeria Fire Service for their collaborative efforts, he said six of the wanted suspects were presently in police custody and urged others to avail themselves to the police as the army was on their trail.
Shocking discoveries at Dura-Du pond
Daily Trust reports that the search for General Alkali, who went missing on September 3 had opened up a trail of shocking discoveries around Dura-Du community. His car and two others belonging to passers-by who were said to have been killed and dumped elsewhere were recovered from the Dura-Du pond.
One of the vehicles, a Toyota Hiace Bus with a Plateau registration number RYM307 XA was said to belong to 21-year-old Abdullahi Abdullahi, who went missing on June 24 while the second vehicle, a red rover with a Bauchi registration number AG 645 TRR was owned by one Alh. Lawal Isa, who was allegedly killed along with his friend AlhajiDan-Tani in Dura-Du in 2013.
The General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division, Major General Benson Akinruloyo, had on Friday said the killing of General Alkali was a crime committed by a few but concealed and sponsored by the community.
Daily Trust also reports that the Nigerian Army had last week announced the temporary stoppage of pumping out water from the old mining pond in Dura-Du where the vehicle of late retired Major General Idris Alkali and two others were recovered.
The officer in-charge of the search and rescue team told journalists that it became necessary to halt activities around the pond because it was collapsing.
Daily Trust reports that water from the pond was emptied into a bigger one opposite it during the operation. There is an untarred road between the two ponds, parts of which had cracked and given way making the road inaccessible to motorists.
Brigadier General Mohammed had before the recovery of General Alkali’s remains said the pond would need some engineering work after which the army would continue with its assignment.