Father of Luis Díaz kidnapped by group recognised as terrorists by Columbia's government

Luis Díaz's father was kidnapped by armed men on motorcycles on Saturday, 28 October. Credit: PA Images

The father of Liverpool FC striker Luis Díaz was kidnapped by a group recognised as terrorists by the Columbian government.

Both parents of the footballer were taken by armed men on motorcycles at a gas station in the small town of Barrancas, Columbia, on Saturday 28 October.

The government said on Thursday that the guerrilla group National Liberation Army, known as ELN, is responsible.

The peace delegation of the government, which is currently in negotiations with ELN, said in a statement it was "officially aware" that the kidnapping had been "perpetrated by a unit that belongs to ELN".

"We demand that the ELN releases immediately Mr Luis Manuel Díaz," said Otty Patiño, who leads the peace delegation.

"We say as of now that they are entirely responsible to secure his life and integrity."

The footballer's mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was rescued within hours by police who set up roadblocks around the town of 40,000 people, which is near Colombia’s border with Venezuela.

Díaz's father remained missing, which triggered special forces to search for him in a mountain range that straddles both countries and is covered by cloud forest.

Police also offered a $48,000 reward for information leading to Diaz’s father.

Díaz is one of the most talented players on Colombia’s national team and currently plays for Liverpool FC, which he joined last year in a deal worth $67 million (£54,900).

The 26-year-old striker was absent from Liverpool’s match against Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Díaz’s teammates expressed their solidarity with the Colombian by holding up one of his jerseys on the pitch after scoring the team’s first goal in their 3-0 victory.

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