Major General Umaru Ibrahim Muhammed (rtd), who was tasked by the Nigerian Army with conducting a search and rescue mission after General Idris Alkali went missing in 2018, has described how Gen Alkali was slain at Dura-Du village, Jos South local government, Plateau state.
Gen Muhammed, who testified as a key witness before the Jos High Court on Wednesday, said late Gen Alkali was gruesomely murdered and his body dismembered before being buried in a shallow grave.
According the star witness, “Late Gen Alkali left Abuja for Bauchi en route Jos in 2018, while on transit, he made the last call around Dura Du village in Jos South. His phone went off at that moment. He never arrived in Bauchi and could not be reached by phone. On September 3, 2018, his family was forced to proclaim him missing three days later.
“I was the garrison commander with the 3 division of the Nigerian Army, and I was tasked to conduct a search and rescue operation. My task was to do three things; to find Gen Alkali dead or alive; to find his vehicle black Toyota Corolla with MUN 679 AA; and to find whoever is responsible for his sudden disappearance.
“I was given one Major General and 30 soldiers to carry out the task. We searched all the hospitals, Police station without result. We went to MTN for search and discovered that his phone was switched off in Dura, Du village. That was how we centered our search operations in that village.
“In the village, we searched about 32 mining ponds, but information available to us made us to concentrate on the particular one. But the youths of the village mobilised about 500 women to protest against us searching the pond. But in spite of those initial resistance from the locals, we continued with our assigned task.
“We had to go to Taraba state to get Fire service trucks and some divers from Bauchi and after intensive labor for two weeks, we succeeded in evacuating water from the pond and on the 29th of September discovered Gen Alkali Toyota Corolla from the pond. Inside the vehicle, we saw his uniform, shirt, shoe, cap with his name on them.
“We continued our search in the pond, on the 1st of October, we saw a bus in the pond whose driver was declared missing 7 years earlier. We also saw a Rover car, red color, the owner resides in Bisichi, he was declared missing in the same village. Inside that pond were Tipper lorry, Tricycles, motorcycles etc.
“Having discovered his vehicle, the next was to find his body. We intensified in our intelligence, and got one of the suspects who led us to the shallow grave where the remains of Gen Alkali were initially buried by the killers. The suspects confessed that after killing Gen Alkali, his body was dragged round the village before taking him to a location called “no man’s land” and buried him in shallow grave.
“We went to Abuja to bring our sniffer dog, we cultured the dog with his shirt for 3 days. Then we took the dog to “no man’s land”. We discovered they had already moved the body from that grave.
“Further search made us to understand that the killers got the service of a mortician who evacuated the body and packaged it in two bags. We got the mortician, he led us to one Mr Stephen, and Mr Stephen eventually led us to
another village called Buchwet which is 10km away from Dura-Du. That was where the remains of Gen Alkali was dumped, we recovered the body on the 30th October 2018.
“To be sure the body we recovered was that of Gen Alkali, we contracted a renowned pathologist to carry out thorough examination on the remains. The pathologists rearranged the entire body to show us how he was killed.
“Study shows that the killers sliced the skull into two, and pieced all parts of his body. That showed us he was gruesomely murdered by the suspects. The pathologist further requested for Gen Alkali ex-ray from the wife, and it matched what we recovered. He also went to the shallow grave where Gen Alkali was first buried to fetch the sand from the grave to also confirmed the petsone buried there was Gen Alkali.”
The second witness, Major Arashinga Bulus, a serving in army officer in Abuja, also narrated his role in the search and rescue team and confirmed that 21 persons were arrested in connection with the killing of Gen Alkali.
After taking two witnesses, the court adjourned the case to 6th November to take additional witnesses.