Colombian police step up hunt for kidnapped father of Liverpool’s Luis Díaz

October 30 – Colombian police are stepping up their search for the father of Liverpool striker Luis Díaz after both parents were kidnapped near the border with Venezuela.

Luis Manuel Díaz and Cilenis Marulanda were kidnapped on Saturday by gunmen in their home city of Barrancas. Marulanda was rescued but her husband has not been found.

Police director William Salamanca says he has told Diaz on the phone that his mother is safe and unharmed. “We will spare no effort in this situation that has moved all of us Colombians,” Salamanca told reporters.

Díaz was given compassionate leave for Liverpool’s 3-0  win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday. He was at a hotel with the rest of the squad late on Saturday night when he was told of his parents’ kidnapping. After speaking with manager Jurgen Klopp, it was agreed that the 26-year-old would return home to be with his girlfriend and their young daughter.

“We had to obviously make a late change because of the private situation involving Luis Diaz,” said Klopp. “It’s a worrying situation for all of us and it was a pretty tough night. I have never had that before, it’s a new experience I never needed.”

Liverpool said in a statement it is the club’s “fervent hope that the matter is resolved safely and at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime, the player’s welfare will continue to be our immediate priority.”

Colombia’s Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasc told a radio station that the kidnappers took Díaz’ father to a mountainous region and that a £40,000 reward for information that could lead to his rescue has been set up.

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