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Father Of Liverpool Star Luis Diaz Will Not Leave Colombia After Kidnapping

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Luis Diaz, a soccer player for Liverpool, and his father announced on Friday that he would remain in Colombia following nearly two weeks of guerrilla captivity that included restless nights and tiring days spent riding horses through the highlands.

The Marxist National Liberation Army (ELN) freed Luis Manuel Diaz, 58, on Thursday, 12 days after taking him captive in Barrancas, a rural municipality in the northern state of La Guajira, on October 28.

The ELN and the socialist administration of President Gustavo Petro are attempting to end Colombia’s six-decade internal conflict, which has claimed more than 450,000 lives. Diaz’s capture has intensified criticism of these discussions.

In August, the ELN and the government agreed on a six-month ceasefire.

“My aspirations are to continue in my town because I have my entire family in my town,” Diaz said at a press conference.

“The government has given me impressively strong and great support. I trust and have faith that it will provide me security to be in Barrancas.”

Analysts and security sources claim that the kidnapping demonstrated the ELN’s high brass’s lack of control over the organization’s rank and file.

On Friday, Diaz shared details of his confinement, saying that his kidnappers told him to keep quiet.

“A lot of quite difficult horseback riding, lots of mountains, rain,” Diaz said, recalling “almost 12 days without sleep.”

“Even though the treatment was good, I didn’t feel very comfortable,” he said.

The European Union and the United States classify the 5,800-member ELN—of which 2,800 are combatants—as a terrorist group.

Along with drug trafficking, illicit mining, and extortion, the rebel organization is also accused of using kidnapping as a means of funding its operations.

Antonio Garcia, the group’s chief leader, stated on social media on Friday that kidnappings as a way of fundraising were not prohibited by the peace negotiations.

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