ELN Guerrilla Group to Release Abducted Father of Liverpool’s Luis Diaz
Release of Luis Diaz's Abducted Father Expected in ELN Peace Talks
Colombia announced on Friday that the ELN guerrilla group is set to release Luis Diaz’s father, who was abducted five days ago while peace talks were ongoing with Bogota. Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco informed reporters that ELN representatives at the negotiations have indicated that they will release him. A safe area will need to be agreed upon for the handover to take place.
Cilenis Marulanda, the mother of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz, was rescued shortly after the abduction in their hometown of Barrancas near the Venezuelan border on Saturday. However, Luis Manuel Diaz, his father, has remained missing, prompting a large-scale search.
On Thursday, the government revealed that the ELN had taken Luis Diaz Sr. and demanded his immediate release. The ELN and the government, led by leftist President Gustavo Petro, are currently engaged in peace negotiations and a six-month ceasefire that began in August.
President Petro expressed his strong disapproval of the kidnapping of Luis Diaz’s father and urged immediate efforts to secure his release. The army has deployed over 250 soldiers for an extensive search operation involving both air and ground efforts to locate Diaz, who is 56 years old.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp stated that Luis Diaz, who has not commented on the kidnapping, will decide whether he wants to participate in a Premier League match against Luton on Sunday. The player is deeply affected by the situation, as he is very close to his father, according to Carlos Jimenez, a cousin of Luis Diaz Sr.
The ELN, Colombia’s last recognized guerrilla group, originally began as a leftist ideological movement in 1964 but later turned to criminal activities, including kidnapping, extortion, violent attacks, and drug trafficking. Over the years, more than 38,000 people have been kidnapped in Colombia, primarily by groups seeking ransom funds.