Luis Díaz, the Colombian footballer who plays for Liverpool, has made a heartfelt plea for the immediate release of his father from his captors, urging them to bring the excruciating wait to an end.
On October 28th, in Barrancas, the hometown of Díaz, both of his parents were forcibly taken by left-wing guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) at gunpoint.
While his mother has been located, there is still no information regarding the whereabouts of his father.
Díaz netted a goal against Luton last Sunday, celebrating by raising his shirt to display the Spanish message “freedom for papa.”
‘Every second, every minute our anxiety grows,’ Díaz, 26, said in a statement released shortly after the match in England’s Premier League.
‘My mother, my brothers and I are desperate, anxious and have no words to describe what we are feeling. This suffering will only end when we have him home with us.’
‘I beg that they free him immediately, respecting his integrity and ending this painful wait. In the name of love and compassion we ask they reconsider their actions and allow us to have him back.’
Díaz also thanked ‘the Colombians and the international community for the support that’s been received, [and the] many demonstrations of care and solidarity in this difficult moment’.
The Colombian authorities have dispatched numerous police officers and soldiers in an effort to secure the release of the footballer’s father, Luis Manuel Díaz.
Surveillance footage from the day of the kidnapping revealed that the vehicle in which Díaz’s parents were traveling was being trailed by individuals on motorcycles.
The gunmen accosted the couple while they were taking a break at a petrol station in Barrancas, a town in the northern province of La Guajira.
With the police closing in, the kidnappers left Luis Díaz’s mother stranded in a car but forcibly removed his father from the scene.
In the beginning, the police suggested that a criminal group was the leading candidate for responsibility.
Conversely, a government delegation, currently involved in peace talks with the rebel group, subsequently stated that they had “official confirmation” that the kidnapping had been executed by “a unit from the ELN.”
It has been reported that a representative of the group stated their intention to set Díaz’s father free in the days to come.
The ELN is currently the leading active guerrilla group in Colombia, with a history of conflict against the state dating back to 1964 and an estimated membership of about 2,500 individuals.
The region along the border with Venezuela is where the group is most active, and it’s also the same area where Luis Manuel Díaz and his wife, Cilenis Marulanda, have their residence.