By Le Figaro with AFP
Released Thursday after being held for almost two weeks in captivity in Colombia by the ELN guerrillas, Luis Manuel Diaz was able to reunite with his family.
Liverpool and Colombian striker Luis Diaz was finally able to hug his father, who was kidnapped for 12 days by a guerrilla and then released after several days “anxiety”, Tuesday ahead of an international meeting. Coming from England, Luis Diaz joined the Colombian national team training camp in Barranquilla on Tuesday and fell, in tears, into the arms of his father, according to images released by the Colombian Football Federation (FCF ).
Aged 56, Luis Manuel Diaz was released Thursday morning in a mountainous area in the north of the country by the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last still active guerrilla in the country who kidnapped him on October 28 along with his wife, who was released a few hours later. Mr. Diaz, an amateur football coach who revealed his son, wore a black T-shirt with the inscription “Never again”.
Colombian police announced on Saturday the arrest of four people suspected of having participated in the kidnapping which jeopardized the peace process begun almost a year ago between the ELN and the government, as well as the six-month bilateral ceasefire in force since August 3. The military commander of the ELN, Antonio Garcia, had himself admitted “error”.
In six decades of civil conflict, Colombia has recorded some 38,000 kidnappings, mainly by armed groups who finance their operations with ransom money and drug trafficking, Colombia being the leading producer of cocaine in the world.
Luis Diaz, who will lead the Colombian attack against Brazil on Thursday during the 5th day of South American qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, joined Liverpool in January 2022 from the Portuguese club Porto for a transfer of amount of 60 million euros. He is the first Colombian native to reach the elite of world football.