Nigeria: Supporter of president, who claims to be son of slain prime minister, kidnapped

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nigeria: Vocal supporter of president kidnapped

ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigerian police say kidnappers seized a man who claims be to the son of the nation’s first prime minister.

Police spokesman Moshood Jimoh told The Associated Press on Sunday that kidnappers seized Dr. Jhalil Tafawa Balewa. Jimoh said police shot one kidnapper and arrested another.

The spokesman declined to say whether Tafawa Balewa was freed after the firefight.

Tafawa Balewa, 60, says he is the son of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first prime minister who was killed in the country’s 1966 coup. The Tafawa Balewa family disowned Jhalil in 2008, claiming he wasn’t a son. It wasn’t immediately clear if the man kidnapped was the same Jhalil.

Jhalil Tafawa Balewa also is an organizer of a group called “Goodluck Nakowa,” which supports President Goodluck Jonathan’s possible bid in next year’s presidential election. Jonathan has yet to say whether he’ll run.

Kidnappings have grown increasingly common in Nigeria, an oil-rich country of 150 million people where most live on less than $1 a day.

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