HomeSportsFootballColombian guerrilla group frees kidnapped dad of Liverpool's Luis Diaz

Colombian guerrilla group frees kidnapped dad of Liverpool’s Luis Diaz


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The father of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz Bogota was lastly freed by Colombia’s ELN guerrilla group on Thursday after being kidnapped and held captive for 12 days.

After days of negotiations for the handover, the rebels offered Luis Manuel Diaz to humanitarian staff at an undisclosed location within the Serrania del Perija mountain vary on the border with Venezuela.

The elder Diaz, 56, and his carers then traveled by helicopter to town of Valledupar, some 90 kilometers (56 miles) from his hometown of Barrancas within the northern La Guajira division – the place he was kidnapped on Oct. 28.

Exiting the helicopter, Diaz walked slowly and waved at reporters who had been stored at a distance.

According to Monsignor Francisco Ceballos, a member of the group that acquired him, Diaz spent “four days walking when they detained him, and two days now that they were going to hand him over.”

When he was launched he was “a little emaciated, tired, lame,” Ceballos stated.

Earlier, as news of his launch broke, family members of the footballer and his father embraced tearfully in Barrancas the place they had been gathered to observe the occasions.

Diaz arrived hours later to neighbors celebrating with drums and trumpet music exterior his house, which was underneath police guard.

In a message broadcast on Blu Radio, Diaz stated he wished to “thank all the people … for this great support they have given to my family. I love them very much, soon I will have the opportunity to greet them and give them a hug.”

In one other video, Diaz is seen in mattress with a bandaged proper leg, thanking the army for his “quick” launch.

His sister Aracelys Diaz informed journalists the household was “happy,” although considerably involved about her brother’s situation.

“He is not as we would like, but he is fine. He is alive,” she stated.

Luis Diaz (C) heads the ball forward of Toulouse’s Danish defender Mikkel Desler Puggaard (L) through the UEFA Europa League Group E soccer match between Toulouse FC (TFC) and Liverpool on the Stadium de Toulouse, in Toulouse, southwestern France, Nov. 9, 2023. (AFP Photo)

A ‘mistake’

Diaz Sr. and his spouse Cilenis Marulanda had been kidnapped by armed males on bikes at a gasoline station in Barrancas almost two weeks in the past.

Marulanda was rescued hours later and a large search operation by floor and air was launched for her husband, with greater than 250 troopers concerned.

The military withdrew its troops Monday underneath situations imposed by the ELN for Diaz’s launch.

“It was not a simple operation … A series of conditions had to be met and of course every hour that passed generated anguish,” authorities consultant Ivan Cepeda informed Caracol Television.

The ELN, which is in peace negotiations with the federal government and is social gathering to a six-month ceasefire that entered into pressure in August, has described the kidnapping by one in all its models as a “mistake.”

On Sunday, the 26-year-old footballer Diaz had begged the ELN on social media to free his father.

Liverpool welcomed the discharge Thursday and instantly named Diaz of their beginning 11 in opposition to Toulouse within the Europa League, which the Colombian group misplaced 3-2.

Trust damaged

The abduction threatened to derail high-stakes peace negotiations between the ELN and the federal government of leftist President Gustavo Petro.

Petro took workplace final August with the acknowledged aim of reaching “total peace” in a rustic ravaged by a long time of preventing between the safety forces, leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and drug gangs.

The president final week stated the kidnapping had damaged the “trust” between the events.

On Thursday, the federal government delegation to the peace talks stated the ELN had prompted “serious damage to the confidence of Colombian society in the possibility of achieving peace.”

Luis Manuel Diaz was the founder and beginner coach of the one soccer academy in Barrancas, the place his son confirmed promise from a really younger age.

Known domestically as “Mane,” Diaz Sr. is credited with aiding the meteoric rise of the Liverpool and Colombia striker.

Acquaintances have informed Agence France-Presse (AFP) that he typically bought meals he cooked himself to pay for his son’s journeys to Barranquilla, town the place “Lucho” Diaz had his debut.

The youthful Diaz has performed for his nation 43 instances and is the primary Indigenous Colombian to make it to world soccer’s prime echelons.

The ELN, one in all Colombia’s final acknowledged guerrilla teams, has some 5,800 combatants, and the federal government says it’s current in additional than 200 municipalities the place preventing has displaced communities caught up within the violence.

More than 38,000 folks have been kidnapped in Colombia over time, primarily by armed teams elevating funds with ransom cash.

In probably the most well-known circumstances, Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt was held hostage by the now-disbanded FARC guerrilla group for six years earlier than being rescued in 2008.

According to official information, the ELN nonetheless holds about 30 hostages.

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