November 10 – The father of Liverpool’s Colombian international striker Luis Díaz was released Thursday by members of a guerrilla group who had kidnapped him, ending a 12-day ordeal for the family.
After days of negotiations, the rebels presented Luis Manuel Diaz to humanitarian workers at an undisclosed location in the Serrania del Perija mountain range on the border with Venezuela.
He and his carers then travelled by helicopter to the city of Valledupar, some 90 kilometers from his hometown of Barrancas where he was abducted on October 28.
Earlier, as news of his release broke, relatives of the footballer and his father embraced tearfully in Barrancas where they had gathered to follow events.
In a radio message, Diaz said he wanted to “thank all the people… for this great support they have given to my family.”
Diaz Sr. and his wife Cilenis Marulanda were abducted by armed men on motorcycles at a gas station in Barrancas nearly two weeks ago. Marulanda was rescued hours later and a massive search operation by ground and air was launched for her husband.
The ELN guerilla group, which is in peace negotiations with the government and is party to a six-month ceasefire that entered into force in August, described the kidnapping by one of its units as a “mistake”.
Liverpool welcomed the release Thursday and immediately named Diaz in their starting 11 against Toulouse in the Europa League which they lost 3-2.
“We are delighted by the news of Luis Diaz’s father’s safe return and we thank all those involved in securing his release,” Liverpool said in a statement on social media platform X.
On Sunday, the footballer had pleaded for his father’s release after scoring for Liverpool in a Premier League game, revealing a T-shirt proclaiming ‘Freedom for Papa’ in Spanish.
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