After almost two weeks since his kidnapping by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Liverpool star Luis Diaz’s father has been released.
Luis Manuel Diaz was released on Thursday and is currently in the hands of a humanitarian commission made up of the United Nations and the Catholic Church, Blu Radio reports.
The armed group handed over Luis Manuel Díaz to a humanitarian commission made up of the Ombudsman’s Office, the United Nations, the Catholic Church and a delegation of the Red Cross, says El Tiempo.
Diaz senior will be transported via helicopter and in the coming hours he will be reunited with his family, who are already celebrating his release in their hometown of La Guajira.
The Episcopal Conference of Colombia have posted an image of Luis Manuel after his release on social media.
They posted: “We thank God for the release of Mr. Luis Diaz! With him are already Mons. Francisco Ceballos, bishop of Riohacha and Mons. Hector Henao, delegate for Church-State relations, who formed the humanitarian commission in charge of facilitating his release.”
Luis Diaz’s father’s ordeal began on October 28 when he and Cilenis Marulanda, his wife, were stopped by armed men on motorcycles and kidnapped.
Cilenis Marulanda was released hours later, but the search for Manuel Diaz continued before the Colombian government discovered that members of the ELN were behind the plot.
The guerrilla group subsequently vowed to release the Colombia international’s father as soon as possible, suggesting that they did not know that it was Luis Diaz’s father who had been abducted.
A statement read: “The Northern War Front has commands with economic missions and one of them carries out a privation of freedom, which, after being reported and verified that it is the father of Lucho Diaz, is guided by his release because he is a family member of the great sportsman that we all love as Colombians.
“From that moment on, the release process begins and we want to avoid any incident. Firm in the search for the paths of peace, with the necessary transformations that the country needs.”
A leader of the group also admitted that kidnapping Luis Manuel was “a mistake”, adding: “Luis is a symbol of Colombia and we feel him as such in the ELN”.
Despite the ongoing incident, Luis Diaz returned to action for Liverpool on Sunday and came off the bench to score a late equaliser against Luton Town, sealing a 1-1 draw. He celebrated by displaying a message under his jersey, which read: “Freedom for papa”.
The Colombian forward starts for Liverpool against Toulouse in the Europa League on Thursday.