A 28-year-old agricultural engineer held captive for three days in the west African
country claims name-dropping his famous compatriot calmed his violent aggressors
An Argentine kidnapped in Nigeria
claims he owes his life to Barcelona forwardLionel Messi.
Santiago Lopez Menendez, a 28-year-old agricultural engineer, had been working in
the west African nation since last year, planting soya and corn crops close to Kontagora in the north-west of the country.
But he was kidnapped earlier this week and beaten violently by his captors, who hardly
spoke any English and thought he was north American.
It was then in desperation that Menendez tried to tell them he was Argentine and he
was eventually able to calm down his aggressors with repeated cries of “Messi, Messi, Messi”.
Held captive for three days, the engineer was eventually released after the company
who employs him paid an undisclosed ransom to the kidnappers.
Back in Argentina, his brother Jorge spoke to Clarin and said: “‘Tell them I am grateful
to Messi’, he told me. ‘Naming him is what saved me.'”
Menendez is now safe and will return to his homeland in the next few hours.