- Authorities in Colombia are still searching for Luis Diaz’s father, Luis Manuel
- The Colombian government has confirmed that the ELN group is responsible
- Follow the latest news from Mail Sport Liverpool WhatsApp channell for all breaking news
Luis Diaz’s father was kidnapped by a left-wing guerrilla group considered terrorists by the United States and the European Union, the Colombian government announced Thursday.
But there was renewed hope after reports in Colombia that the group holding Diaz’s father had confirmed he would be released in the “next few days.” El Tiempo newspaper also reported that police were confident that such a move would be “coordinated.”
Luis Manuel Diaz was arrested at gunpoint along with his wife on Saturday evening.
A major manhunt has been underway since then, and local authorities are now blaming Colombia’s last remaining rebel group, Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN), which translates to “National Liberation Army.” Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was left in a car by kidnappers as police closed in, but the gunmen abducted his father.
Police had raised concerns that he may have been smuggled across Colombia’s northeastern border through dense jungle into Venezuela.
The Colombian government has provided an important update on its search for Luis Diaz’s father
According to the Colombian government, Luis Manuel Diaz was kidnapped by a terrorist group
Diaz’s father Luis Manuel (above) and mother Cilenis Marulanda were kidnapped in Colombia last week and the 26-year-old footballer has since remained in England for “security reasons”.
A statement on Thursday signed by the head of the negotiating team of the Colombian government’s peace delegation, Otty Patino, said: “Today we received official knowledge that the kidnapping was carried out by a unit of the ELN.”
“To the ELN, we call for the immediate release of Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz and remind them that it is their responsibility to guarantee his life and integrity.”
“We remind the ELN that kidnapping is a criminal practice and violates international humanitarian law.”
ELN was founded in 1964 by radical Catholics inspired by the communist revolution in Cuba and was behind several kidnappings in Colombia.
She was behind a car bombing at a police academy in Bogota in 2019 that killed 21 people and injured another 68.
The Liverpool star’s mother (above in 2019, left centre) was rescued after the pair were kidnapped on the streets of Colombia last week, but his father’s whereabouts are still unknown
Diaz’s mother (center) led a community march on Tuesday calling for her husband’s release
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Peace talks between the ELN and the Colombian government have been ongoing since March 2020, when the guerrilla group declared a unilateral ceasefire during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Liverpool striker Diaz, 26, has remained in England after learning of the events on Saturday evening.
He was not involved in Sunday’s win over Nottingham Forest or Wednesday’s Carabao Cup victory over Bournemouth.
According to reports from Colombia, he was not allowed to return to his home country for “security reasons.”
Hundreds of local community members dressed in white banded together, holding balloons
Statement from the Colombian government on the father of Luis Diaz
The national government delegation at the peace dialogue table with the National Liberation Army (ELN) informs public opinion that:
1. Today we officially learned that the kidnapping on October 28 in Barrancas, La Guajira department, whose victims were Luis Manuel Díaz and Cilenis Marulanda, father and mother of the football player Luis Fernando Díaz Marulanda, was committed by an ELN-affiliated party Unit.
Although Ms. Marulanda was released a few hours later, the player’s father was kidnapped for five days.
2. As a delegation of the National Government for peace talks with the ELN, we express all our solidarity with Luis Díaz, his family, the entire country and the millions of supporters of the player around the world.
3. We demand the immediate release of Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz by the ELN and remind him that it is solely his responsibility to ensure his life and integrity.
4. We remind the ELN that kidnapping is a criminal practice in violation of international humanitarian law and that it is its duty in developing the current peace process not only to stop it but also to eliminate it forever.
5. As part of the development of the ceasefire agreement, our delegation will submit this case to the current monitoring and verification mechanism and take all necessary measures to achieve the immediate release and guarantee of the life and integrity of Mr. Diaz.
Otty Patino, head of the national government delegation, peace talks with the ELN