The Colombian government announced that Luis Diaz’s father is still in the hands of a left-wing guerrilla army group, the National Liberation Army
Two armed men kidnapped Diaz’s father, Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz, and mother, five days ago at a gas station in the municipality of Barrancas. The terrorist released the mother, Cilenis Marulanda, hours after the incident. The father remains in captivity.
The left winger has missed Liverpool’s last two matches due to his missing father. Luis’s teammate Diego Jota held up the star’s jersey in solidarity after scoring last Sunday against Nottingham Forest.
Colombian government's response to the kidnapping
On Thursday, Colombian authorities issued a five-point statement pinpointing ELN as the perpetrator and declared their intention to resolve the situation peacefully.
“The delegation of the National Government at the peace talks with the National Liberation Army, ELN, hereby informs the public that:
“1. Today we have had official knowledge that the kidnapping perpetrated last October 28, in Barrancas, department of La Guajira, of which Luis Manuel Diaz and Cilenis Marulanda, father and mother of the soccer player Luis Fernando Diaz Marulanda, were victims, was perpetrated by a unit belonging to the ELN. Although Mrs. Marulanda was released a few hours later, the player's father has been kidnapped for five days.
“2. As the delegation of the National Government for the peace talks with the ELN, we express our full solidarity with Luis Díaz, his family members, the whole country and the millions of followers of the player around the world.
“3. To the ELN we demand the immediate release of Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz, and we remind them that it is their entire responsibility to guarantee his life and integrity.
“4. We remind the ELN that kidnapping is a criminal practice, in violation of International Humanitarian Law, and that it is their duty in the development of the current peace process, not only to stop carrying it out, but also to eliminate it forever.
“5. As part of the development of the ceasefire agreement, our delegation will present this case to the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism in force, and will carry out all the necessary steps to ensure that the ELN is able to comply with the ceasefire agreement.”
ELN's continued threat to Colombian peace
It remains unclear why the ELN targeted Diaz’s family but it’s widely assumed now, at least, that it’s all about ransom. Founded in 1964, the guerrilla group continues to threaten Colombia’s democratic republic with kidnappings, drug trafficking, and acts of terror. They bombed a Bogota police station in January 2019, killing 21.
SoccerGator extends its support to Luis Diaz and his family during this challenging time and echoes the calls for his father's prompt release.