By OKELLO ALLAN
Barrancas, COLOMBIA, [ShiftMedia] The rebel group holding Luis Diaz’s father in captivity have insisted that the Colombian military is to blame for a delay over his return.
The National Liberation Army (ELN) demanded ‘security guarantees’ before releasing Luis Manuel Diaz, who was kidnapped last week.
They also insisted that they are planning on releasing Diaz’s father but the ongoing military action ‘will delay the release and increase the risks’.
A statement signed by unit leader Commander Jose Manuel Martinez Quiroz read: “On November 2, we informed the country of the decision to release Mr Luis Manuel Diaz, father of the player Luis Diaz.
“From that date, we began the process to accomplish this as soon as possible. We are making efforts to avoid incidents with government forces.
“The area is still militarised, they are carrying out flyovers, disembarking troops, broadcasting and offering rewards as part of an intense search operation.
“This situation is not allowing for the execution of the release plan quickly and safely, where Mr Luis Manuel Diaz is not at risk.
“If operations continue in the area, they will delay the release and increase the risks.
“We understand the anguish of the Diaz-Marulanda family, to whom we say that we will keep our word to release him unilaterally, as soon as we have security guarantees for the development of the liberation operation.”
The Liverpool star’s parents were kidnapped at gunpoint in Barrancas, Colombia, on October 28.
The ELN abandoned Diaz’s mother in a car as police closed in but escaped as they held his father hostage.
In response, the Colombian government have deployed hundreds of police officers and soldiers in the search.
Diaz had not featured for Liverpool since the incident until he made an appearance from the bench against Luton on Sunday.
In astonishing fashion, the 26-year-old grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser after the Hatters had gone a goal up.