Liverpool Footballer Luis Diaz's Father Released by ELN in Colombia: A Story of Hope and Desperation
- Mike Johnshon
- 09 Nov, 2023
The ELN guerrilla group in Colombia released the father of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz on Thursday, as shown in live television footage, 12 days following his abduction.
Delivered to a humanitarian mission by the rebels, Luis Manuel Diaz was transported by helicopter to the northeastern city of Valledupar, situated about 90 kilometers away from his hometown of Barrancas, where he and his wife were kidnapped on October 28. His wife was rescued on the same day.
"Long live Freedom and Peace," President Gustavo Petro wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after the release.
The Colombian Bishops Conference, engaged in the negotiation process, published a picture showing Diaz in a wooded area undergoing a medical check performed by a woman.
The 26-year-old winger's parents, Cilenis Marulanda and his father, were taken by armed individuals riding motorcycles at a gas station in their hometown.
While Marulanda was rescued within hours, an extensive search mission involving over 250 soldiers by both ground and air was initiated to locate her husband.
The ELN, currently in peace talks with Petro's government, later admitted that one of its factions was responsible for the abduction, labeling it as a "mistake."
On Sunday, Diaz made a plea to the ELN to release his father.
"I ask the ELN for the prompt release of my father, and I ask international organisations to intercede for his freedom," Diaz said on X.
"Every second, every minute our anguish grows," the young footballer added.
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