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Plateau women protest as military searches for missing general

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Plateau women protest as military searches for missing general

About 500 women yesterday protested at Dura Du community in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State when the military expanded on its search for Major General Mohammed Alkali (rtd), who was declared missing since Monday, September 3.
Alkali retired from service as the Chief of Administration, Nigerian Army Headquarters, but a few weeks later he was declared missing.
He was said to be travelling from Abuja to Bauchi and somewhere around Jos his family lost contact with him.
Investigation, according to the military, then revealed that the general could have been killed and dumped in a deep pond in Jos thereby making them to search the pond for him.
However, the women at Dura community, dressed in black and some half naked, began a violent protest against the military, leading to clashes as they threw stones at the military personnel while others dared them to shoot and even attempted to wrest weapons from their hands.
The women said their anger was that the military has put a siege on their community since they suspected that the general was in the pond, and again that their people had been repeatedly killed without the military protecting them.
But their major reason for protesting the search by the military was due to a superstitious belief that the pond must not be disturbed in any way because it would lead to calamity for them, including mysterious deaths and other misfortunes.
Mary Yakubu, who spoke on behalf of the women, said since the days of their forefathers, no one had tampered with the water, and that it was a taboo to tamper with it because their husbands and children would die mysteriously.
She said they did not know peace since the military suspected that the retired general was thrown into the pond with his car.
According to her, the people have been harassed, threatened and even shot at.
Yakubu said when suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked the community several times and killed innocent persons the military did not take serious action.
She added: “When thousands of innocent women and children were killed in various villages of Plateau State, no military action was taken, no arrest of a single attacker, but now we are leaving in our sadness still the military wants to put more tension in us without protecting us.”
Reacting, the search and rescue officer in charge of the operation, Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohammed, said they had it on credible intelligence that Alkali got missing in that area, and that the Army Headquarters had mandated and directed them to carry out a search and rescue operations.
Mohammed said no amount of protest by the women or any superstitious belief about the pond would stop them from the operation.
The general said the military had earlier notified the community before the operation commenced.
He said: “In an effort to search for the missing Major General, Idris Alkali, a lot of things were done, and all the hospitals in Jos were toured and checked. Besides, we have checked all the accident vehicles’ places. Base on credible intelligence, we now had to come to this community in the last one week. We are trying to find three things. One is General Alkali who is declared missing. We are here also looking for his vehicle which is a black Corolla vehicle and we want to find out if he is alive or not.
“Again, we have credible information that some vehicles were actually pushed into this pond. We came here for the last three days trying to see if we can salvage anything from the pond. The pond is a mining site and is deep. You can see that we have a crane, and we have used all kinds of methods and as the last resort, we have decided that we are going to evacuate the water from the pond to see what is underneath.
“Early this morning (yesterday), I came here and actually saw a group of women numbering over 500 all dressed in black and they insisted that we are not going to evacuate the water and we asked them why and they said this is the water they use to drink. And there are water points more than 30 of this type that are much cleaner than this one in this environment. But surprisingly, the women began throwing stones at my troops.
“There was even an instance where one of the ladies was confident enough to try to wrest a weapon from a soldier. And why these women are here is that we will not evacuate this water, but we told them it is an order and this water you see we are going to evacuate and see what is there. Until we see to the end of this, we will not allow miscreants to take laws into their hands. That would not be allowed.”
Mohammed said soldiers had been stationed there and would try to provide protection to the community and other communities in the state, adding that the protesting women were being instigated from some quarters.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Wurno Danlami

    September 22, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Is not bad to search the Dura Du community, but the military operatives around that area should also not be spared because a soldier knows his colleague better.Moreso,a soldier committed suicide after killing a colleague in Borno.

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