After almost two weeks since the incident was first discovered, Liverpool forward Luis Díaz’s father is finally released by kidnappers in Columbia, serving a huge relief to the 26-year-old player’s family and the Reds camp. Luis Manuel “Mane” Díaz, aged 56 this year, has been confirmed that he is now a freeman again, following his release by the National Liberation Army (ELN) from Colombia, who have been identified as culprits behind Luis Díaz’s father’s kidnapping case. The breaking news also came 11 days after Cilenis Marulanda, Luis Díaz’s mother was rescued by police a day after both her and Luis Manuel Díaz were kidnapped.
How Did Luis Díaz’s Father and Mother Get Kidnapped?
So how did things escalated in the first place? On 29th October 2023, Luiz Díaz’s father and mother, Luis Manuel Díaz and Cilenis Marulanda were kidnapped by a group of armed men in a gas station in Barrancas, La Guajira, Columbia, which happens to be the 26-year-old player’s birthplace. The English Premier League star’s mother was soon freed, after the local authority performed a rescue for Cilenis Marulanda approximately a day after the tormenting experience. Marulanda was seen pleading the kidnappers to release his husband in an emotional video afterwards.
The kidnapping case soon erupted, with 63-year-old Columbia President Gustavo Petro announcing that all the public forces to be deployed in the search of Luiz Díaz’s father and General William Rene Salamanca claiming that a reward of 200 million pesos will be given for information about Luis Manuel Díaz’s whereabouts. During the early stages of the devastating incident, it was thought that Luis Díaz’s father was in Venezuela, prompting the police to perform a rescue search at the mountain range of the borders of Columbia and Venezuela.
Earlier this month, the culprits were revealed to be Colombia’s National Liberation Army, also known as the ELN at last, and the guerrilla insurgency group said in an official statement that Luis Díaz’s father will be released soon via their representative Juan Carlos Cuellar in a video clip. On 9th November 2023, Luiz Díaz’s father finally became a freeman as the ELN group held on to their promise.
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Who Are Columbia’s National Liberation Army (The ELN)?
The ELN, who kidnapped Luis Díaz’s father, are a Marxist–Leninist guerrilla insurgency group founded by Fabio Vásquez Castaño and other rebels back in 1964 and are involved in the continuing Colombian conflict. The group are notoriously known for ransom kidnappings and armed attacks on Colombia’s infrastructure, as seen in the kidnapping case of Luis Díaz’s father and mother in the recent two weeks, prompting the European Union to add them to their list of terrorist organisations many years ago.
Apart from the said activities above, the ELN have their main sources of income by forcing businesses and middle class civilians in their areas of operation to pay “War taxes and retentions”. Based on reliable sources, the group have abducted over 3,000 people from the span of 2000 to 2007 and currently taking 240 people in captive.
— Elizabeth Dickinson (@dickinsonbeth) November 9, 2023
Liverpool’s Warm Gestures and Luis Díaz’s Professionalism
The six-time European Cup and UEFA Champions League winners certainly deserve a lot of praises in handling Luis Díaz’s father’s kidnapping case, such as giving him day offs to participate in the search and fellow teammate Diogo Jota also extended his sentiments to Luis Díaz when he opened the scoring for the Kop against Nottingham Forest F.C. and lifted a no. 7 jersey with the player’s name on in celebrations two Premier League Matchdays ago.
As for Luis Díaz himself, the 26-year-old Columbian forward selflessly fulfilled his responsibility as a football club player, having come onto the Luton Town game and equalised for his side in the stoppage time and started in the Reds’ UEFA Europa League match against Toulouse FC upon the release of his father.