News Live Scores
World Cup

Mikel sends heartfelt thank you to authorities following rescue of father in ‘gun duel’ with kidnappers

22:20 GMT+3 03/07/2018
Mikel Obi
The Nigeria veteran international posted a grateful message on twitter following his father’s rescue from abductors

Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has thanked police for rescuing his father after his abduction by kidnappers.

Mikel announced that his father, Michael Obi, and his driver had been abducted prior to Nigeria’s match against Argentina, with the kidnappers demanding a ransom of N10 million (£21,000/$28,000) for his release.

However, the Enugu State Police confirmed they had managed to rescue Michael Obi and the driver, and Tianjin TEDA midfielder Mikel has taken to social media to publicly thank them for their efforts.

“I would like to thank the Police authorities involved in ensuring the safe return of my father after the ordeal this week,” the former Chelsea midfielder said on twitter .

“I will also like to thank everyone for their kind words of support. He is now recuperating with my family. My family and I are grateful.”

In addition to confirming the rescue, police officials also specified the details of the kidnapping and that a gun battle had taken place between authorities and the abductors.

“It was gathered that Pa Michael Obi and his driver were abducted along Makurdi-Enugu Road on his way from Jos in his grey-coloured Toyota Prado jeep with registration number: MUS 604 CG and taken to an unknown destination through the thick forest part of the area.

“It was further gathered that the abductors started calling to demand a ransom of N10m before police operatives acted on intelligence information and swooped on them.

“In the process of the rescue, a gun duel ensued between police operatives and the kidnappers, which forced the hoodlums to abandon their victims inside the forest and they were promptly rescued."

Obi was also revealed to be “hale and hearty” by authorities after being checked medically following his ordeal.

The kidnapping had taken place prior to Nigeria’s final group stage match against Argentina, which the Super Eagles lost 2-1 to narrowly miss out on qualification for the last 16.

Mikel had been informed of the ransom demands by the kidnappers just before the contest, but told ESPN he kept the information to himself, not wanting to endanger his father or let his country down.

"I was confused. I did not know what to do, but in the end I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down," Mikel told ESPN .

"I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody.

"And I did not want to discuss it with the coach because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to the coach or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game. So as much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not do it."

Mikel has represented his country at the last two World Cups and has won 85 caps in total, scoring six goals.