Police personnel of the Delta State Police Command in Nigeria over the weekend freed a former football star, Christian Obodo, who was reported kidnapped over the weekend.
Mr. Obodo, who is visiting his home state of Delta on break from his European base, was reportedly driving alone in his vehicle when suspected kidnappers waylaid him and took him hostage to an unknown destination.
Police spokesman, ASP Charles Mouka, told journalists on Sunday that the kidnapped soccer star was rescued by police in Emevor, an Isokoland township lying between Ughelli and Oleh area of Delta State.
According to him, some of the kidnappers were also arrested in an operation that tracked the kidnap gang to a forest about 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Warri where Mr. Obodo was kidnapped yesterday.
The kidnappers had demanded for as much as $170,000 in ransom money before the police came to his rescue.
Obodo, 28, is a midfielder who has played 21 times for Nigeria since making his international debut in 2004. Last season, he played on loan at Lecce from Serie A side Udinese.
This is not the first time abductors have targeted Nigerian soccer players and their families.
The brother of Everton defender Joseph Yobo was kidnapped in 2008 and freed days later, while last year the father of Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi was abducted before being freed after a police raid.
A brief statement from Lecce on Obodo's abduction said, "We hope the situation can be resolved as soon as possible in the best possible way."
Obodo's brother, Kenneth Obodo, who is also a professional soccer player in Italy and is currently in Nigeria, was quoted by Italian news agency ANSA as saying, "Christian is fine. We are in touch with the kidnappers, who want some money.
"We can't give them more than €100,000 (US$125,000). Unfortunately these things happen in our country."
His brother-in-law, Obidike Okechukwu, was quoted by ANSA as saying that the kidnappers had asked for a ransom of €150,000.