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Luis Diaz’s father kidnapped by ELN guerrillas, says Colombian government

Colombia’s government says the guerrilla group National Liberation Army, known as ELN, has kidnapped the father of Liverpool and Colombian national soccerteam striker Luis Díaz

Associated Press
Friday 03 November 2023 16:10 GMT
Colombian official claims ELN guerrilla group kidnapped parents of soccer player Luis Diaz

Colombia‘s government said on Thursday that the guerrilla group National Liberation Army, known as ELN, was responsible for the weekend kidnapping of the father of Liverpool winger and Colombian international Luis Diaz.

The peace delegation of the government, which is currently in negotiations with ELN, said in a statement it was “officially aware” that the kidnapping had been “perpetrated by a unit that belongs to ELN”.

“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,” said Otty Patino, who leads the peace delegation.

Both parents of Liverpool’s Diaz were kidnapped by armed men on motorcycles on Saturday at a petrol station in the small town of Barrancas. The footballer’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was rescued within hours by police who set up roadblocks around the town of 40,000 people, which is near Colombia’s border with Venezuela.

Diaz’s father remained missing, which triggered special forces to search for him in a mountain range that straddles both countries and is covered by cloud forest. Police also offered a $48,000 reward for information leading to Diaz’s father.

Diaz is one of the most talented players on Colombia’s national team and currently plays for Liverpool in the Premier League, whom he joined last year in a deal worth £50m including add ons.

The 26-year-old was absent from Liverpool’s match against Nottingham Forest on Sunday. Diaz’s teammates expressed their solidarity with the Colombian by holding up one of his jerseys on the pitch after scoring the team’s first goal in their 3-0 victory.

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