KANO, Nigeria, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The father of a Chelsea, England, soccer player who had been kidnapped in Nigeria has been freed, officials said Monday.
Michael Obi, the father of Mikel John Obi, who also has played for the Nigerian national team, had last been seen Aug. 12 in Jos. The father told the BBC he had been kidnapped in Jos before being transferred to Kano.
"I am very stressed," he said.
His kidnappers were in custody in Kano in northern Nigeria, officials said.
The British broadcaster reported his face had shown evidence of having been beaten.
Vanguard had reported members of the Obi family denied Friday reports the abductors had demanded more than $130,000 ransom.
On Monday, the player's management company, Sports Entertainment & Media Group, issued a statement saying: "Earlier today Michael Obi called his family to advise them that he had been released by his abductors. SEM have waited until now to release this information, to ensure that Michael was safe."
The statement said the 24-year-old midfielder extended his thanks to family, friends, fans and others "for their total support during this terrible time."
He had continued playing for Chelsea since his father's kidnapping.
"I wouldn't want to let the club down and if I didn't play that game I think my mum would be very sad," he said.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas had praised the star's "amazing mental toughness" on Friday.
|Additional World News Stories|
PHILADELPHIA, May 24 (UPI) --A Philadelphia judge ordered a couple detained because others might "harbor" them from prosecution for the death of their baby after he was denied medical care.
NEW YORK, May 24 (UPI) --A New York judge has released Amanda Bynes on her own recognizance after the actress was arrested for throwing a bong out of her 36th-floor apartment window.
ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 24 (UPI) --Bausch & Lomb Inc. is nearing a deal to be sold to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. for about $9 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
BRENTWOOD, N.Y., May 24 (UPI) --A New York state dockworker said one of his first acts as a $26.5 million lottery jackpot winner was to quit his job.