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By ESPN Staff

Fears grow after Yobo's brother's kidnap

Team-mates of Everton footballer Joseph Yobo are hoping for the safe return of his kidnapped brother, a club spokesman said. Gunmen in Nigeria abducted Norum Yobo as he made his way home from a nightclub in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Ransom demands usually follow kidnappings in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of the country, although no contact has yet been established with the offenders. The Premier League defender is on holiday in Lagos, Nigeria, and was due to return to pre-season training at the Merseyside club next week. Everton spokesman Ian Ross said the thoughts of everyone connected with the club were with Yobo, 27, and his family. 'We have sent a couple of messages to Joseph offering any assistance that we can provide him,' Ross revealed. 'He had been given leave to return late to pre-season training next week because of his international duties for Nigeria this summer. Obviously, this family misfortune means he will stay out there for the foreseeable future. 'Things like this put football and life in perspective. 'The thoughts of the players, management, staff, fans and everyone connected to Everton FC are with Joseph and his family at this time. 'We can only hope that Joseph's brother is released without harm.' Details of the abduction were confirmed by Cyril Dumite, deputy chairman of the People's Democratic Party, the ruling party in Rivers State. Norum Yobo was one of three men taken from their car at gunpoint - the other two, Barry C Lakara and Ifeanyi Nwa, were later released. The kidnapping took place in the B-Line area of Port Harcourt at around 4am yesterday after the trio had attended the Illusion Nite Club. Police said that the kidnappers have yet to make contact with them. Nigeria has seen a rise in activities - including kidnapping - by militants acting against the oil industry in the country in a bid to secure a larger share of petroleum funds.

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