The father of Luis Diaz has spoken for the first time since his release by Colombian guerrillas, describing the situation as extremely challenging.

Luis Díaz’s father has shared his experience of being held hostage by armed guerrillas at the Colombian-Venezuelan border, enduring difficult journeys and sleepless nights for almost two weeks.

Luis Manuel Díaz, a 58-year-old man, shared that his recent experience involved a strenuous amount of horseback riding through challenging terrain, heavy rainfall, and numerous insects. Despite his physical weakness, Díaz mustered the strength to speak with reporters in his hometown of Barrancas, Colombia. He expressed the difficulty of his journey, stating that he was unable to sleep peacefully for nearly 12 days.

He expressed extreme happiness upon being reunited with his family on November 9th, following his release from captivity by the ELN guerrilla group.

At first, Díaz believed he was taken for ransom, but he later revealed to reporters that no payment was made for his release. His wife, Cilenis Marulanda, was also kidnapped at gunpoint but was freed after a few hours.

I am still struggling to comprehend the reason behind my abduction. The guerrillas claimed that I have no conflicts with anyone.

The police had a suspicion that Díaz, who was from Barrancas in the northern La Guajira province, had been kidnapped by local criminals. However, on 2 November, government peace talks revealed that he was actually being held by leftist rebels.

In 1964, the ELN was established by radical clergy members and currently has approximately 2,500 combatants who manage the armed organization’s schemes of extortion and drug trafficking.

On Saturday morning, the Colombian police announced the arrest of four individuals following a mission aided by British intelligence.

According to a report from the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, it is believed that the local drug trafficking group Los Primos, also known as “the Cousins”, captured Díaz and turned him over to the ELN.

Díaz, the leader of a youth football organization in the area, stated that his treatment improved after being transferred to the guerrillas on the third day. He also mentioned that his captors assured him of his imminent release.

He was advised to remain composed, assuring him that he would be safe. He was well-respected and cherished in his community for his contributions.

Diaz’s arrest has brought the ELN to the forefront of international attention and jeopardized ongoing peace talks between the armed organization and the government of Colombia.

After scoring a last-minute equaliser against Luton Town last Sunday, Luis Díaz lifted his Liverpool shirt to display a message urging for his father’s release.

His father mentioned that he had spoken with his son on Thursday, right before the Liverpool player took part in the game against Toulouse. He was pleased to have had the chance to greet his son before the match, and his son seemed content and happy, as he was already with his family.

The leader of the ELN informed the local media that abducting the father of a premier league player was a “mistake,” but this would not deter them from continuing to kidnap for ransom.

The group and government reached a six-month ceasefire agreement in June, which stated that the group would stop their actions.

Despite the traumatic experience, Díaz stated that he would not abandon Barrancas. He also encouraged the country to continue seeking a peaceful resolution to the more than six decades of internal conflict. “Instead of weapons, let us use pens and notebooks,” he suggested.


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