Father of Liverpool star Luis Diaz to be released by Colombian rebel group ‘as soon as possible’ after kidnapping
Luis Manuel Diaz and his wife Cilenis Marulanda were kidnapped by armed men on Saturday.
The father of Liverpool star Luis Diaz will be freed ‘as soon as possible’, according to a representative of the rebel group holding him following his kidnapping in Colombia.
Luis Manuel Diaz and his wife Cilenis Marulanda were snatched by armed men on motorbikes in the town of Barrancas in La Guajira on Saturday.
Marulanda was freed hours later but the search for her husband is ongoing.
On Thursday, the Colombian government announced Diaz Snr had been kidnapped by left-wing rebels of the National Liberation Army, also known as ELN.
A delegation has been engaged in peace talks with the group. Otty Patino, who is leading the talks, said: ‘We demand that the ELN releases immediately Mr Luis Manuel Diaz and we say as of now that they are entirely responsible to secure his life and integrity.’
Reuters now report a representative of ELN has said the group will free the footballer’s father ‘as soon as possible’.
A major military and search has been ongoing and a £39,000 reward offered to anyone with information leading to his return.
On Tuesday, Diaz urged people to join a march demanding the safe release of his father.
His Instagram post invited the ‘whole community’ to ‘bring your candle to light the light of hope’, with the picture of his father accompanied by a caption which read: ‘Free him now’.
Diaz, who joined Liverpool from Portuguese side Porto in January 2022, was set to play for his club against Nottingham Forest on Sunday but pulled out of the squad. He was replaced in the team by Diogo Jota, who held aloft his teammate’s shirt in support after scoring at Anfield.
‘How can you make a football game really important on a day like this? It’s really difficult,’ manager Jurgen Klopp said.
‘I never struggled with that, it was always my safe place. But it was impossible to do that [today], so we had to give the game an extra sense. That was fighting for Lucho.
‘The preparation was the most difficult I had in my life. Didn’t expect it, couldn’t prepare for it. We try to help Lucho as much as we can. The only thing we can do is fight for him.’
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