Suspected members of the ELN in Colombia abducted Luis Diaz’ parents on October 28. Luis Diaz’s father claimed after his release that he was not kidnapped to be exchanged for money.
Diaz’ mother, Cilenis Marulanda, and his father, Luis Diaz Sr., were abducted in Colombia on October 28 while their son was rendering his services at Old Trafford. Though his mother was soon let go, the father would be held for more than one week by agents whom the Colombian government’s official report announced to be from the ELN.
The ELN (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional, or the National Liberation Army) is an ancient outfit set up to achieve a popular democracy that allows for greater political participation and social justice for the average Colombian. Moreover, the group seeks to address social, political, and economic injustices that they believe are perpetrated by the Colombian government and other powerful entities.
Luis Diaz Sr. released a joyful message following his release: ‘I want to thank God for this second chance. Thank you to all the people of Barrancas. Thank you all. I love you very much. I will soon have the opportunity to greet you. Thank you very much.’
According to Diaz Sr., the ELN gave him good treatment, but he was not very comfortable because of fear.
‘It was a lot of horseback riding, really hard, a lot of mountains, a lot of rain, too many insects. I couldn’t sleep peacefully, it was very difficult, almost 12 days without sleep,’ he said.
Some things the ELN is remembered for are their guerilla warfare with the Colombian army and attacks on army bases and checkpoints. Conflict between the two has resulted in casualties and has had a significant impact on the security situation in certain parts of Colombia.
Cuba and the Soviet Union provided financial support for the group in their early days, but drug trafficking, extortion, illegal mining, and kidnapping are the ways the group is believed to get the funding it needs. Efforts the Colombian government has made with the help of international figures have failed to demolish the organisation.
Manchester United released the following statement at the news of their player’s father’s freedom: ‘We are delighted by the news of [Luis Díaz’s] father’s safe return, and we thank all those involved in securing his release.
Coach Jurgen Klopp said, ‘It looks like Lucho (Diaz) is really happy, (giving) thumbs up all the time. It looks very, very good. Timing-wise, it couldn’t have been better. If it is now, then great.’
Luis Diaz Sr. claimed that the reason for the abduction is still hidden to him since it was not for a ransom. Moreover, he intends to keep living in Colombia.
‘My aspirations are to continue in my town because I have my entire family in my town. 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,’ said Diaz’ father.
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