The government peace delegation has confirmed that the National Liberation Army (ELN) is the group responsible for the kidnapping of Luis Manuel Diaz, the father of Colombian footballer Luis Diaz, who currently plays for Liverpool. The incident occurred on October 27 when the disappearance of both parents was reported. Although the mother was released a few hours later, there are concerns about the father’s health, and his whereabouts are unknown.
Through a statement posted on the social media of the High Commissioner for Peace, the government’s peace delegation and the ELN guerrilla have officially confirmed that a unit of this illegal armed group is responsible for the criminal act. In the document signed by the government’s chief negotiator, Otty Patiño, the delegations state that they have received official information that the kidnapping that took place in Barrancas (La Guajira), where Luis Manuel Diaz and Cilenis Marulanda, the footballer’s parents, were victims of a kidnapping “…. carried out by a unit belonging to the ELN.”
The statement demands the release
The peace delegation’s statement officially confirms that it was the ELN who kidnapped the athlete’s parents on October 27. The text states that although the mother was released, the “father of the player has been held captive for five days.”
While expressing their “solidarity with Luis Diaz, his family, the entire country, and the millions of fans of the player around the world,” the peace delegation also demands the “immediate release of Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz.”
The representatives at the peace dialogue table hold the ELN responsible for “ensuring the life and integrity” of the kidnapped person and remind that “kidnapping is a criminal practice that violates International Humanitarian Law, and it is their duty, in the context of the current peace process, not only to cease committing it but also to eradicate it forever.”
Finally, the public negotiators will present “this case to the current Monitoring and Verification Mechanism” as part of the ongoing ceasefire between the state and the illegal armed group. The goal is to take “necessary actions to achieve the immediate release and guarantee the life and wellbeing of Mr. Diaz.”
Intensive search in collaboration with Venezuela
The police have confirmed that they have deployed 200 officers in the search for Luis Manuel Diaz. Authorities have announced, although they cannot confirm it with certainty, that they are working on the hypothesis that the kidnapped person is still in Colombian territory. However, the location of the events, in the La Guajira department, could facilitate the transfer of the captive to Venezuela due to its proximity to the border.
In this regard, the director of the Colombian police, General William Rene Salamanca, has reported the collaboration of the Venezuelan state in the search. “I spoke to the director of Interpol Colombia yesterday to speak about the coordination with Venezuela for assistance. The information we have is that they are still in Colombian territory. We have commandos here, we brought intelligence personnel to analyze any information, and there is an intelligence plane that is evaluating their movements with a heat map,” the police chief explained to W Radio.
Furthermore, Salamanca announced that, “by instruction of the Ministry of National Defense, a reward of up to 200 million pesos is being offered for information that leads to locating Luis Diaz.”