Search for Missing General: Army asks fleeing villagers to return

Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai: Chief of Army Staff

Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai: Chief of Army Staff

The Nigerian Army says it will adhere to and respect human rights in the search of missing retired Maj.-Gen. Idris Alkali in Jos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Alkali, the immediate past Chief of Administration, Army Headquarters, Abuja, was declared missing on Sept. 3.

He was said to have gone missing on his way to Bauchi after leaving Abuja in the morning.

Consequently, the Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, set up an operation to search for the missing officer.

The army said that after a thorough search and investigation, they stumbled on some intelligence that made it necessary to search a mining pond at Dura-du, Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau.

The operation being jointly conducted by Operation Safe Haven and 3 Division Nigeria Army, Rukuba, recovered four vehicles from the pond, including the one Alkali was driving before his disappearance.

The situation led to fears, anxiety and apprehension that army would carry out a military action in the area as it continues its search for the general or his remains.

According to reports, members of the community fled their homes for fear of being attacked by security operatives.

But the army in a statement signed by Col. Kayode Ogunsanya, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, assured that it would conduct its operations with international best practices and respect for fundamental human rights.

“The attention of Headquarters 3 Division has been drawn to reports that the residents of Dura-Du District have fled and abandoned their homes and business premises to avoid being clamped down by the troops involved in the Search and Rescue Operation for the missing retired senior officer.

“Please be informed that Nigerian Army is a professional organisation that conducts its operations with international best practices and respect for fundamental human rights.

“The troops involved in the search and rescue operation only apprehended those who have information about the missing retired senior officer based on credible intelligence.

“Consequently, the good and peace loving people of Jos South, especially Dura-Du District, are enjoined not to desert their homes and business premises and urged them to go about their legitimate businesses,’’ he said.

Ogunsanya said that doing so would prevent hoodlums from breaking into the abandoned homes and business premises.

He also called on anyone with credible information about the whereabouts of the missing retired senior officer to please contact “this Headquarters on GSM No. 09074028881’’.

He added that a handsome reward awaits a credible informant and the source of information shall be protected.