A Brazilian midfielder was kidnapped and tortured by drug traffickers after allegedly running with the girlfriend of one of the crime bosses.
Vasco de Gama midfielder Bernardo was reportedly spotted by members of a drug gang in Rio De Janeiro and kidnapped. He and Daiane Rodrigues, girlfriend of crime boss Marcelo Santos, were caught together and taken to Timbau Hill, where they were bound and tortured.
Witnesses say Rodrigues was shot several times in the leg, but survived the injuries and was released from a hospital on Thursday. Bernardo was taken to Souza Aguiar Hospital with unspecified injuries and also was discharged on Thursday.
Vasco’s sporting director Rene Simoes said the team is doing whatever it can to help the kidnapped midfielder recover.
“I spoke to Bernardo recently and our priority is to give full support to the player,” he said. “Of course Vasco do not want his name involved in anything other than what he achieves on the sports field. Bernardo will receive support from the club while legal proceedings are being undertaken.”The kidnapped midfielder was able to escape in part with help from two teammates, who were with Bernardo and pleaded for his release.
As Rio prepares to host football’s World Cup next year and the Summer Olympics in 2016,the city has struggled with high-profile acts of violence. Earlier in April, an American tourist was kidnapped on a public transportation van and raped, while her boyfriend was beaten and forced to watch.
Police said the attack took place over six hours, and they later apprehended three men between the ages of 20 and 22 in connection to the kidnapping.
Officials in Rio have been trying to crack down on drug violence, and high-profile incidents like the gang rape and kidnapped midfielder are seen as harmful to the city’s already dangerous image.
Police said they are investigating how the midfielder was kidnapped.