REVEALED: Liverpool star Luis Diaz’s father was captured by a terrorist group, say Colombian government, with police ‘confident’ a ‘co-ordinated’ release will take place
Luis Diaz’s father was kidnapped by a left-wing guerrilla group considered terrorists by the US and European Union, the Colombian government revealed on Thursday.
But there was renewed hope following reports in Colombia that the group holding Diaz’s father had confirmed he would be released in the ‘next few days’. Newspaper El Tiempo also reported that police were confident such a move would be ‘coordinated’.
Luis Manuel Diaz was seized at gunpoint along with his wife on Saturday evening.
A large manhunt has been ongoing since and local authorities now blame Colombia’s last remaining rebel group Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN), which translates as the National Liberation Army.Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was left in a car by kidnappers as police closed in, but the gunmen dragged away his father.
Police had voiced concerns that he may have been smuggled over Colombia’s north-eastern border into Venezuela through dense jungle.
A statement on Thursday, signed by the leader of the Colombian government’s Peace Delegation negotiation team Otty Patino, read: ‘Today we have had official knowledge that the kidnapping was perpetrated by a unit belonging to the ELN.
‘To the ELN, we demand the immediate release of Mr Luis Manuel Diaz and we remind them that it is their responsibility to guarantee his life and integrity.
‘We remind the ELN that kidnapping is a criminal practice, in violation of International Humanitarian Law.’
ELN were founded in 1964 by radical Catholics inspired by Cuba’s Communist revolution and has been behind multiple kidnappings in Colombia.
It was behind a car bombing at a Bogota police academy in 2019 which killed 21 people and injured another 68.
Peace talks have been going on between the ELN and the Colombian government since March 2020, when the guerrilla group declared a unilateral ceasefire during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Liverpool forward Diaz, 26, has remained in England after learning of the events on Saturday night.
He was not involved in Sunday’s win over Nottingham Forest or Wednesday’s Carabao Cup victory against Bournemouth.
Reports in Colombia suggested he was talked out of returning to his homeland for ‘security reasons’.