Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz’s father, Luis Manuel Diaz, was kidnapped last weekend by the Colombian rebel group National Liberation Army (ELN), according to the Colombian government. Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was also taken but was later rescued. The ELN has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and expressed hope for Diaz’s father’s imminent release.
The leader of the Colombian government delegation Otty Patino, issued a strong demand for the release of Luis Manuel Diaz, father of Liverpool player Luis Diaz, who was kidnapped by the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group.
Patino emphasized that the ELN is entirely responsible for securing Diaz’s life and integrity. He reminded the group that kidnappings are criminal acts that violate international humanitarian law.
In response, a representative of the ELN stated on Thursday that they intend to release Luis Diaz’s father “as soon as possible” as negotiations with the Colombian government continue. The statement comes as hundreds of police and soldiers are deployed in efforts to free Diaz senior.
The Colombian government’s peace delegation is currently in negotiations with the ELN in efforts to secure Luis Manuel Diaz’s release. Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco has described the situation as “very serious” and stated that it violates a ceasefire between the government and the rebels.
The kidnapping of Luis Diaz’s father has prompted widespread outrage in Colombia. Hundreds of people joined a march to demand his release, and the national police force has offered a reward for information leading to his rescue. Liverpool FC has shown unwavering support for Diaz, with manager Jurgen Klopp dedicating a recent victory to him and teammates expressing solidarity on the field.
The search for Luis Manuel Diaz is focused on the Serranía del Perijá, a mountainous area along the Colombia-Venezuela border. Police have recovered two motorcycles and a car believed to have been used in the kidnapping but have not yet located Diaz’s whereabouts.
President Gustavo Petro’s government has restarted talks with the ELN as part of a strategy for “total peace,” leading to a bilateral six-month ceasefire agreed upon earlier this year. Previous attempts at reaching a peace deal with the ELN have not been successful.
The ELN, is Colombia’s last remaining active guerrilla group and has been engaged in conflict with the state since 1964, the group has a long history of engaging in criminal activities, including kidnappings, military-style assassinations, extortion, and drug trafficking. The group is most active in the border region with Venezuela, where the Diaz family resides.
The kidnapping of Luis Diaz’s father has sparked outrage in Colombia, with widespread calls for his safe return. Liverpool FC has also shown unwavering support for Diaz and his family during this difficult time.