This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news
One of Nigeria's retired Major Generals, Mohammed Alkali, went missing on 3rd September 2018. He was on his way to Bauchi from Abuja when his family lost contact with him.
Following the news of General Alkali's unknown whereabouts, the Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, set up an operation to search for the missing General.
It was reported that after a thorough search and investigation, the army stumbled on some information, that made it necessary to search the Dura Du mining pond in Jos South local government Area of Plateau State.
About 500 women of Dura Du community came out to protest against the army's search of their pond. The protest which happened two weeks ago involved the women throwing stones at military personnel- there was even an attempt to wrestle weapons from members of the army.
The primary reason for the women's anger was the superstitious belief that the pond is sacred. According to them, the pond must not be tampered with because it can lead to the mysterious deaths of members of the community.
Mary Yakubu, who spoke on behalf of the women said the water had not been tampered with since the days of their forefathers and that it was forbidden to touch it.
Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohammed, in charge of the operation, while noting their grievances said no amount of pressure from the women would stop the search of the pond.
What's in the pond?
Despite the protest, the army went ahead with the search.
On the 29th September 2018, General Alkali's missing car was found in the pond. A blood-stained T-Shirt and boxer shorts believed to belong to the general were also discovered in the car. His body is however yet to be found.
Interestingly, the General's car was not the only one inside the pond. Major General Augustine Agundu shared in a news conference on October 1st that more cars, including a Toyota Hiace bus, have been pulled out of the water. According to him, there were more things hidden under the water.
“It is a sad moment for us and for any right thinking Nigerian to think that crime is being committed almost on a daily basis. It took the efforts of the joint operation to make the startling discoveries.” - Maj - Gen. Augustine Agundu.
Meanwhile, since the discovery of the car, there have been fears from the people of Dura Du that the military could attack them in retaliation.
Plateau Peace and Justice Forum ( PPJF) also expressed fears that the Nigerian military could take military action on the community. However, Benson Akinruluyo, GOC, 3 division, Rukuba Barracks said the military has no such plans.
“There is no plan to take military action on the community or attack it. What we want is for the community to cooperate with us. We want them to tell us where Major General Ali is or where his corpse is kept,” - Benson Akinruluyo
There have been comments and many unanswered questions around the pond and its content.
While the army is still investigating the water, the people of the community have been urged to cooperate with security agencies and give the necessary information so that the perpetrators of the criminal act would be brought to justice.
Nobody is sure what to expect or what the findings will look like. For now, we wait.
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