Father of Liverpool soccer star Diaz not leaving Colombia after kidnapping

Father of Liverpool soccer star Diaz not leaving Colombia after kidnapping

The father of Liverpool soccer player Luis Diaz, Luis Manuel Diaz, has stated that he will continue to live in Colombia after being held captive by guerrillas for nearly two weeks. His captivity was characterized by sleepless nights and arduous days of horseback riding through the mountains. Diaz, 58, was released on Thursday by the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) after being taken hostage on October 28 in Barrancas, a rural municipality in the northern province of La Guajira. The incident has sparked criticism of the ongoing peace talks between the ELN and the government of President Gustavo Petro, who is working to end Colombia’s long-standing internal conflict. The government and the ELN had initiated a six-month ceasefire in August. Diaz expressed his desire to remain in his hometown, Barrancas, where his entire family resides, and praised the strong support he received from the government, expressing confidence in their ability to provide him with security. The kidnapping has highlighted the lack of control that the ELN’s leadership has over its members. Diaz shared details of his captivity, including the difficult horseback riding, mountainous terrain, and lack of sleep. Although he acknowledged that his treatment was relatively good, he did not feel entirely comfortable. The ELN, which consists of approximately 5,800 members, including 2,800 combatants, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. The group is accused of financing itself through kidnapping, as well as involvement in drug trafficking, illegal mining, and extortion. The ELN’s top commander, Antonio Garcia, stated on social media that the peace negotiations do not prohibit kidnappings as a means of financing.

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