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Manhunt for kidnapped Mexico footballer

Do Not UseDo Not Use 30/05/2016
Alan Pulido. Archive photo © AFP Alan Pulido. Archive photo

Security forces in Mexico have launched a major search operation for international footballer Alan Pulido after he was abducted near his home.

Map of Tamaulipas © BBC Map of Tamaulipas

Local reporters said they saw soldiers and police officers in the streets of Ciudad Victoria - the capital of the northern border state of Tamaulipas.

Mr Pulido, 25, was abducted near Ciudad Victoria after leaving a party.

The striker plays for the Greek team Olympiakos and has made several appearances for Mexico's national team.

"At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Alan," Olympiakos said on its Twitter page (in Greek).

Similar comments were published on social media websites by Mr Pulido's teammates from the national squad.

Mexico has one of the world's highest kidnapping rates, with government figures saying some 1,000 people are abducted every year.

Others argue that the true figure could be almost 10 times as high.

Drug smugglers

Local media reports said Mr Pulido had been leaving a party with his girlfriend in the early hours of Sunday morning when their car was surrounded by several trucks.

Six masked men reportedly took the striker away "by force" while his girlfriend was left unharmed in the car park where the incident took place.

Tamaulipas is one of Mexico's most violent states, and Mexico recently deployed more security forces to tackle cartels operating in the area.

Dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks in the border state, which is criss-crossed by drug-smuggling routes to the United States.

Pulido joined Olympiakos last July and finished the season with six goals in 15 games.

He was part of Mexico's squad at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but was not called up for the upcoming Copa America tournament.

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