The Nigerian Army in its continued search for Maj. Gen. Mohammed Idris Alkali (Rtd) around Lafendeg in Du district of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State has recovered the door of a white 18-seater Hummer Bus vehicle from a pond suspected to be where the vehicle of the missing General was dumped.
The rescue team, as constituted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, is made up of officers and soldiers from 3 Division Quick Response Team, Operation Safe Haven, Nigeria Police Force, Vehicle Inspection Officers, Fire Service, as well as local divers.
The team, in its quest to unravel the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the General, according the Colonel Kayode Ogunsanya of the 3rd Armoured Division, Nigerian Army, on Friday recovered “a white vehicle door with the glass pulled from the abandoned mining pit filled with water.”
Also, Operation Safe Haven Media and Information Officer, Major Adam Umar, told Daily Trust on phone that the pond is yet to be drained to a level where divers could go in for search, adding, “what we are doing is draining water from one pond into another because there are two ponds opposite each other with a major road between them, so we are draining the water from pond A which, based on intelligence is suspected to be the dumping ground, into pond B.”
A source from the Army also told Daily Trust that the protest by women in the area on Thursday and the sighting of oil spill on the pond at the commencement of operation increased suspicion that the pond was probably a dumping site by criminals who kill innocent and unsuspecting road users.
Giving further details into the operation, a statement by the Nigerian Army headquarters posted online had stated that “due to the terrain in the general areas of Paddock in Lafendeg Du Plateau State, the task force consulted a Chinese construction company working in that area who promised to assist in drilling out water from the pond where it was suspected that the vehicle belonging to the senior officer was pushed into. However, the Chinese company was forced to withdraw their services due to continuous threats and protest by women in the community clad in black dresses.”
The Army however stated that despite the challenges, the Task Force has continued with its search and rescue operation, adding that, “this discovery indicates that there could be other vehicles in the same pond hence the continued protest by the community. Suffice to add that the Nigerian Army would not relent in its search and rescue operation until the retired General is found.”
General Alkali, who retired from service as the Chief of Administration at the Nigeria Army Headquarters, was said to have gone missing soon after retirement and was travelling from Abuja to Bauchi in a black Toyota Corola vehicle with registration number, MUN 670 AA on the 3rd of September.