By Johnson Eyiangho
Abuja – The Nigerian Army has vowed to completely drain a particular mining pond in Du District of Jos Local Government Area of Plateau, where it said it believed missing retired Maj.-Gen. Idris Alkali was pushed into.
Maj.-Gen Augustine Agundu, the Commander of Operation Safe Haven, stated this on Wednesday while giving update on the whereabouts of Alkali, a former Chief of Administration of the Army, declared missing since Sept. 3.
The senior officer retired from service on June 7 after 35 years.
Agundu, who spoke at the conclusion of the 2nd and 3rd combined Chief of Army Staff Conference in Abuja, explained that intelligence and investigation by the army indicated that the missing general was pushed into the pond.
He further explained that on Sept. 2 gunmen stormed a village in the district and killed 11 innocent people and wounded several others.
Agundu said the youth of the district reacted to the killing the following day – Sept. 3 with protest by barricading the road and attacking motorists and other innocent citizens.
He said it was believed Alkali was a victim of the protest.
“Our deduction, therefore, is that Maj.-Gen. I. M. Alkali could have run into the protesting youth on Sept. 3 in Du District as recorded by his cell phone.
“Various eyewitnesses have attested to the fact that they saw a black car that was pushed into a mining pond,” he said.
The operation safe Haven commander said there were about twenty ponds in the district, but that the army zeroed in on the particular one, where the missing senior officer was believed to have been pushed into.
Agundu said that the wife of the officer, Mrs Salamatu Alkali, drew the attention of the Army authorities to a suspected case of the missing senior officer on Sept. 5.
He said the wife stated that the retired officer left his home in Abuja for Bauchi on Sept. 3.
“That the senior officer traveled without his driver and orderly but drove himself in a black Toyota Corrolla,” Agundu further quoted the wife as saying.
He said since the army attention was drawn to the incident, it had been making efforts to locate Alkali.
The commander urged Nigerians to ignore the campaign by one Idris Ahmed, residing abroad that the army was complicit in Alkali’s disappearance and unconcerned about his missing.