Fresh discoveries are being unearthed in the case of the missing retired Major-General Idris Alkali around Du District in Plateau State.
Security agents walking vicious looking sniffer dogs have become a familiar sight around parts of the now deserted communities of Du District in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. An eerie feeling of silence and fear has now replaced the once boisterous life in the community.
What remains of Dura-Du today is nothing short of empty streets, heavily chained shops, deserted houses and a dead, uncomfortable silence.
Despite assurances by the Nigerian Army for the people to return, Dura-Du is almost a ghost town.
The use of sniffer dogs has led the army to a shallow grave said to be where Major-General Idris Alkali (rtd) whose car was found in a pond around the area, was initially buried. He was missing since September 3.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Armoured Division, Maxwell Kobe Cantonment in Rukuba, near Jos, Major-General Benson Akinroluyo told journalists that four different sources not known to each other had at various times took members of the search and rescue team to the shallow grave at a place called “No man’s land.”
A visit revealed a vast area covered with tall grasses and corn fields.
The Garrison Commander of the 3 Armoured Division, Brigadier-General Umar Muhammed who is also the officer in-charge of the Search and Rescue team constituted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai said the sniffer dogs had led the army to the location and then began to hover around the shallow grave.
Ostensibly, shortly after Alkali’s vehicle was recovered on September 29, his corpse was exhumed and reburied in a new location, perhaps with the assistance of a “specialist.”
“The specialist is currently in our custody. Again, this is an attempt to cover up the heinous crime committed by the community. There exist other evidence and indicators that pointed to the fact that those who were involved in the killing of the senior officer are being supported and backed by community leaders within the Dura-Du District,” said General Akinruloyo.
But this is not the first time such a cover up of such magnitude is taking place, said families of victims killed along Dura-Du and have alluded that community leaders sometimes collude with the suspects.
The family of the owner of the red Rover vehicle with Bauchi registration number AG 645 TRR which was also pulled from the pond on the same day a Toyota Hiace bus with a Plateau registration number RYM 307 XA was recovered said their uncle and his friend had been tricked into visiting Du and immediately killed in 2013.
Yusuf Abubakar stated that his uncle, Alhaji Lawal Isa, a land agent was reported missing on 31st January 2013 after he was invited by one Da Chuwang, said to be a village head in Du and one Gyang Davou to visit the area on the pretense that they wanted to buy land from him.
He said about five of the suspects including Chuwang were arrested but stated that, “they were later released because one of them is now on the police wanted list in connection with the disappearance of General Alkali.”
Thirteen people have been arrested and handed over to the police in connection with General Alkali’s case. Later, eight people including a man the police referred to as the District Head of Dura have been declared wanted. However, the police on Friday evening confirmed that shortly after the army disclosed the location of the opened shallow grave, the wanted District Head, Yakubu Rap submitted himself for interrogation at the headquarters.
Two hours later, the Plateau State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Tyopev Terna stated that Timothy Chuwang, Mathew Chuwang and Stephen Chuwang had also submitted themselves for interrogation.
Timothy based on army records is said to be a tipper driver and a sand vendor who was identified to have driven General Alkali’s car to Dura village and subsequently pushed it into the abandoned mining pond. Stephen a surveyor/business man according to the army had participated in the meeting held to relocate the corpse of the senior officer from a shallow grave to elsewhere after his car was found in the abandoned mining pond.
But the Publicity Secretary of Berom Youth Moulders Association, Jatau Davou had earlier said though the organisation was still studying the list of the wanted persons, most of the suspects were unknown to them.
“The 52-year-old District Head, Yakubu Rap said to be wanted by the police is unknown to us, we don’t know anybody with such a name because Dura has no substantive District Head as far as we now, there is an ongoing tussle regarding the stool,” he said.
He however accused the military of being insincere to the people of the Dura Du community explaining that asking the people to return to their homes was a ploy to trick them into getting arrested.
The army said based on credible intelligence, the retired military officer had been stopped by the hoodlums who barricaded the road while on his way from Abuja to Bauchi and that he had introduced himself as a general.
“Despite that, the hoodlums had assaulted and killed him thereafter his belongings such as clothing, cash, phones and laptop were shared among them and his body dragged before being moved to somewhere else while his car was driven and pushed into the abandoned mining pit filled with water,” General Akinroluyo said.
The GOC stated that “the irate youths who followed his car to the abandoned mining pit filled on many tri-cycles popularly known as ‘Keke NAPEP’ jubilated for reason best known to them or for “mission accomplished.”