Men of the Nigerian Army on patrol duty (file image)

The Nigerian army has commenced the evacuation of water from a mining pond at Dura, Du District, Jos South, in search of Idris Alkali, a missing retired Major General.

But women in the area have protested the action, claiming that their husbands and sons could die if the army emptied the pond.

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Alkali, the immediate past Chief of Administration, Army Headquarters, was declared missing on 3 September.

It was learned that he was on his way to Bauchi after leaving Abuja in the morning.

Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Mohammed, Garrison Commander, 3 Division Garrison, Nigeria Army, Rukuba, Jos, said that after thorough search and investigation, the army stumbled on some intelligence that made it necessary to search the water body.

“In carrying out a directive from the army headquarters, a thorough search was conducted, hospitals were visited, we searched everywhere,” he told newsmen on Thursday.

“Based on credible intelligence, we had to come to this place and we have been here for the last one week.

“We are trying to find three things – an officer, Maj. Gen. Alkali (rtd), who is still missing, his vehicle, a black Toyota Corrolla, and also ascertain whether Alkali is alive or not.

“We have credible information that some vehicles were pushed into this river and we have been here for the last three days trying to see if we can salvage something from the river.

“The river is a mining site and therefore very deep. We have used all options but as a last resort, we will evacuate the water from the pond to see what is in it.”

However, some women, numbering about 500 and clad in black, stormed the river to protest the evacuation of the water.

Leader of the protesters, Mary Yakubu, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the water had “a huge cultural significance”.

“If the water is evacuated, it could lead to the death of our sons and husbands,” she claimed.