Gunmen Kidnap Brother of Nigerian Soccer Star Joseph Yobo

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Gunmen kidnapped the younger brother of Nigerian soccer star Joseph Yobo on Saturday, police said.

The unidentified men seized Norum Yobo at gunpoint before dawn as he was returning from a party, Rivers State police spokeswoman Rita Inoma-Abbey said. No group claimed has responsibility for the kidnapping and no ransom demand had been made, she said.

Joseph Yobo played for Everton soccer club in the British Premier League last season and is a regular fixture on Nigeria's national team, the Super Eagles.

Kidnappings are common in the West African country's oil-producing Niger river delta region where militants are agitating for more of the petroleum funds to be spent developing the impoverished region. Attacks on oil industry infrastructure in the past two years have slashed Nigeria's oil output by almost a quarter, helping push worldwide crude prices to historic highs.

Kidnappings have mostly ended peacefully after ransom payments, although deaths and injuries have occurred when security forces battle the kidnappers.

Nigeria is Africa's top oil producer and is routinely ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.