Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

ELN Rebel Group Frees Father of Liverpool Footballer Luis Diaz

liverpool football player

The Colombian government announced that the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group has released Luis Diaz’s father, who was kidnapped almost two weeks ago. This news comes as a relief to the Liverpool footballer and his family, and it marks a step forward in Colombia’s pursuit of peace.

The Release of Luis Manuel Diaz

Local television channels captured the moment when Diaz’s father was released at an airstrip in Valledupar. The Liverpool striker had passionately appealed to the kidnappers to set his father free after he was taken hostage at gunpoint in northern Colombia on October 31. Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was also initially kidnapped but was thankfully rescued a few hours later.

However, despite the successful release, the Colombian government expressed its disappointment regarding the incident, stating that the kidnapping “should never have happened.” The government delegation, which has been actively engaged in negotiations with the ELN, emphasized that the kidnapping has put the peace dialogue in a critical situation and called for decisive action to eliminate such acts of kidnapping.

Pursuing Peace in Colombia

This incident comes at a crucial time when Colombia aims to transition from a military-focused approach to armed groups like the ELN towards a lasting, peaceful resolution. In August, a six-month ceasefire was agreed upon between the government and the rebel group, exemplifying the progress made in the peace process. However, the kidnapping of Luis Manuel Diaz has clearly posed a setback to these efforts.

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Colombian President Gustavo Petro, a strong advocate for peace, expressed his satisfaction with the release of Manuel Diaz, emphasizing the importance of peace and freedom. The government’s statement also called for the release of all remaining hostages held by the ELN, though no estimate was provided regarding the number of individuals still in captivity.

Support from Football Community

Throughout this challenging time, Luis Diaz received an outpouring of support from fellow footballers and fans worldwide. His strength and resilience were evident when he scored an equalizing goal for Liverpool against Luton in the Premier League, celebrating his achievement by revealing a message on his shirt that read “Libertad Para Papa,” meaning “freedom for papa.”

Taking to social media after the match, Diaz pleaded for his father’s release, stating that it is not the footballer but Luis Manuel Diaz’s son who is speaking. He highlighted his father’s dedication and importance within the family while appealing to the ELN for his prompt release and urging international organizations to work together towards his freedom.


Q: Is the ELN a significant rebel group in Colombia?
A: Yes, the ELN is one of Colombia’s largest and longest-standing rebel groups.

Q: How many people have been affected by the civil conflict in Colombia?
A: Over a 60-year period, the civil conflict in Colombia claimed the lives of more than 450,000 people.

Q: What is the Colombian government doing to address the issue of kidnappings by the ELN?
A: The Colombian government has been actively engaging in negotiations with the ELN and is committed to implementing measures to eliminate kidnapping.

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The release of Luis Diaz’s father by the ELN rebel group brings hope for a peaceful resolution in Colombia. As efforts continue to establish lasting peace and eliminate acts of violence, it is crucial to support those affected by these challenging circumstances. The football community’s solidarity with Luis Diaz demonstrates the power of unity and compassion, reminding us of the importance of freedom and peace for all.