Colombia ELN Rebels Say Liverpool Player Nunez Diaz’s Father To Be Freed

nunez-diaz-father

Days after being abducted in northern Colombia, the father of Liverpool soccer player Luis Diaz will be let free, according to an ELN guerrilla official on Thursday.

On Saturday, armed men abducted Luis Manuel Diaz, the father, and Cilenis Marulanda, the mother, when they were driving in the province of La Guajira. Within hours, Marulanda was set free.

On Thursday, the government of Colombia declared that the kidnapping had been carried out by the ELN. According to Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco, the situation is “very serious” and goes against the terms of the truce between the rebels and the government.

The ELN and the government resumed peace negotiations last year with the aim of bringing an end to the group’s involvement in Colombia’s 60-year conflict, which has claimed at least 450,000 lives.

As part of negotiations, the government and the ELN agreed to a six-month truce in August.

In a video recording supplied by the ELN with Reuters, ELN representative Juan Carlos Cuellar stated at a community forum that Diaz’s father will be released “as soon as possible.”

The government’s peace delegation tasked with negotiating with the ELN demanded earlier on Thursday that Diaz’s father be freed right now.

“We remind the ELN that kidnapping is criminal, violates international humanitarian law and that its duty in building the peace process is not just to stop (kidnapping) but to eliminate it forever,” Otty Patino, head of the government’s peace delegation, said in a statement.

Security sources claim that the ELN, the most radical Marxist guerrilla group in Colombia, has long used drug trafficking, extortion, and kidnapping to finance its activities.