The worst is over: Luis Diaz’s father, Luis Manuel Diaz, has been freed 12 days after being kidnapped by Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN).
Various reports state that the senior Diaz was released Thursday morning to representatives from the United Nations and the Catholic Church in Valledupar, Colombia (about 91km from their hometown of Barrancas).
¡Damos gracias a Dios por la liberación del Sr. Luis Díaz! Con él ya se encuentran Mons. Francisco Ceballos, obispo de Riohacha y Mons. Héctor Henao, delegado para las relaciones Iglesia-Estado, quienes conformaron la comisión humanitaria encargada de facilitar su liberación. pic.twitter.com/KK6SOvcyca— Conferencia Episcopal de Colombia (@episcopadocol) November 9, 2023
This comes after the ELN made a statement on Tuesday claiming that military operations were keeping them from releasing Diaz properly, as they were trying “to avoid incidents with official forces,” referring to the presence of military troops in an undisclosed area. The Colombian military had been mobilized along the border of the country, in fears that ELN would take Diaz to the neighboring country of Venezuela, and those troops have since been moved.
Diaz was named to the starting XI on Thursday for the UEFA Europa League match against Toulouse, after scoring the equalizing goal on Sunday against Luton Town - and showing a desperate plea for his father’s freedom in his celebrations. No doubt this news will have gone into the decision for Diaz to start, and will hopefully bode well for the player’s performance, knowing that his father is finally in safe hands.