Pulido not freed by police but escaped from captors

Mexican footballer Alan Pulido with Tamaulipas state Governor Egidio Torre Cantu (right), after receiving treatment for his cut wrist which he suffered while escaping. One of his captors was caught.
Mexican footballer Alan Pulido with Tamaulipas state Governor Egidio Torre Cantu (right), after receiving treatment for his cut wrist which he suffered while escaping. One of his captors was caught. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MEXICO CITY • Mexican footballer Alan Pulido, who was kidnapped and held for 24 hours over the weekend, escaped his captors by disarming and taking a mobile phone away from one of them, then calling the police, according to an official summary report.

The report, a summary of three phone calls to emergency operators, appears to contradict initial reports that he was freed by the police.

State security forces located Pulido within minutes of his call a little before midnight on Sunday from a safe house in the restive city of Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas state, as they were scouring the area nearby, state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla told local radio.

The 25-year-old Mexico national team striker, who also plays professionally with the Greek side Olympiakos, disappeared in his home town on Saturday night, when he was intercepted by gunmen after leaving a party with his girlfriend.

His captors placed him in a safe house, but he managed to overpower the person guarding him and rang Mexico's emergency services.

He then cut his wrist trying to open a locked glass door.

"There was an exchange of blows between them," Quintanilla said. "At some point he was able to make a call."

Police have detained the captor, one of least four involved, who belonged to a criminal gang. It was unclear whether they were connected to the feared Zetas drug cartel, which controls much of the state.

In the early hours of Monday, Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre Cantu appeared on local television, flanked by Pulido, congratulating security forces for rescuing him.

The player, who is not in Mexico's squad for the forthcoming Copa America, was wearing a multi-coloured T-shirt and shorts and had a bandage wrapped around his right hand.

Pulido was in a "good state of health", and was with his family after receiving medical and psychological attention.

Tamaulipas, which abuts the American state of Texas, is an especially violent area of Mexico, which is grappling with grisly drug and gang violence.

Pulido was a member of the Mexican national team who competed in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He has also played for the Greek team Levadiakos and the Mexican club Tigres.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline 'Pulido not freed by police but escaped from captors'. Print Edition | Subscribe