"Welcome to freedom! After 13 days of being kidnapped by the ELN in Barrancas, La Guajira, Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz, father of soccer player Luis Diaz, returns today to his family," the Ministry said on its social network account X.
Manuel Diaz was released around 10:30 a.m. local time in the foothills of the Perijá mountain range, near the town of Barrancas, in the Caribbean department of La Guajira. He was later transferred by helicopter to the airport in the municipality of Valledupar, where he was received by a medical team to check on his health before joining his family.
The release was coordinated at the dialogue table created by the Government of President Gustavo Petro and the ELN, supported by a humanitarian commission headed by members of the United Nations (UN) and the Catholic Church.
Luis Manuel Díaz, pai do jogador de futebol Luis Díaz, do Liverpool e da seleção da Colômbia, foi libertado nesta quinta-feira após ser mantido como refém por 12 dias pela guerrilha do Exército de Libertação Nacional (ELN), segundo informaram fontes oficiais
The tweet reads, "Luis Manuel Díaz, the father of Liverpool and Colombia international soccer player Luis Díaz, was released on Thursday after being held hostage for 12 days by the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas, official sources said"
The Government delegation expressed its gratitude for the gesture and welcomed the safe return of Luis Manuel Díaz to his family. In a statement, the delegation said that his retention was a crime that should never have occurred and caused serious damage to the confidence of Colombian society in the possibility of achieving peace through dialogue. Kidnapping is an enemy of peace, the communiqué reads.
It also called on the ELN to eliminate kidnapping and to release immediately, in conditions of safety and dignity, all persons held in captivity.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro also reacted with a message on social networks, after learning of the release of the player's father, " Long live Liberty and Peace," Petro said.
Luis Manuel Diaz had been held since October 28, when armed men on motorcycles took him and his wife, Cilenis Marulanda, from a gas station in Barrancas. Both were taken to the municipality of Fonseca, but Marulanda was abandoned by his captors after a police operation was launched to find them.
On August 3, the ceasefire agreed between the parties officially began, which includes the suspension of offensive actions such as attacks. The Peace Dialogues between the Colombian Government and the ELN were resumed in November 2022, after being suspended for four years by the previous administration.
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