Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Mother of Nigeria footballer Samuel Kalu released by kidnappers

The mother of Nigeria international Samuel Kalu has been released after being kidnapped by gunmen six days ago, according to Nigerian police.

Ozuruonye Juliet Kalu was abducted on 27 February as she travelled home in the south-eastern city of Abia.

It is unclear whether a reported ransom was paid, but authorities confirmed her release around 2300 GMT on Monday.

"It is true that she was released to her family," Godfrey Ogbonna, of Abia State police, told BBC Sport.

"I can also confirm that investigations are ongoing to arrest those responsible.

"We will make a public statement as soon as more details emerge but for now, she is safe and reunited with her family at home."

Despite the kidnapping, Kalu has been included in Bordeaux's squad for their rescheduled French Ligue 1 fixture against Montpellier on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old, who was named in Nigeria's squad on Monday for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Seychelles and a friendly versus Egypt, has scored once in five appearances for the Super Eagles since his debut last year.

Kidnappings - more often of oil workers, the rich and famous - are a regular occurrence in Nigeria, but footballers and their families are increasingly being targeted.

Current Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi's father was kidnapped for the second time in seven years in June, before being released after a ransom of 10 million naira (about $27,500) was paid.

In 2008, the brother of former Everton defender Joseph Yobo was kidnapped before being released two weeks later.

Kalu joined Bordeaux from Belgian club KAA Gent in August 2018.

By Oluwashina Okeleji


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