A harrowing kidnapping, a daring rescue, and the political repercussions that threaten peace talks
By: Aqsa Anwar
According to the BBC, Luis Manuel Díaz, the father of the Liverpool FC player Luis Díaz was returned on the 9th of November 2023 after becoming the victim of kidnapping, Local media and police have stated.
The BBC News reported that, as per local media, the footballer's father was airlifted to Valledupar in a military helicopter for a medical examination upon his return. After his rescue, Luis Manuel Díaz, the kidnapping victim, shared in a press conference that he endured "almost 12 days without sleep," as noted by Sky News. Following his release, individuals from the Catholic Church and the United Nations personally collected him, according to BBC News.
Sky News delves into the aftermath of Luis Manuel Díaz's captivity, originating from his kidnapping on October 28, 2023, in Barrancas at a petrol station. While Cilenis Marulanda, the mother of Liverpool FC player Luis Díaz, was also kidnapped, CNN reported that she had already been released by the kidnappers. Additionally, Sky News emphasised that information leading to the capture of Luis Díaz would be rewarded with $48,000.
Photo by: Aboodi Vesakar from pexels
The Colombian Government joyously declared, "We report with joy the release of Don Luis Manuel Díaz." Furthermore, the Colombian Football Federation echoed sentiments, stating, "Football is passion in peace. Let no one ever think of attacking that reality again."
Notably, the footballer had previously donated a football field, which, after his father's kidnapping, served as a heliport. The New York Times highlighted the E.L.N.'s claim that the Colombian military, deploying troops and flyovers post-kidnapping, obstructed their ability to return Luis Manuel Díaz. The E.L.N., founded in 1964, employs guerrilla tactics against the Colombian government, according to BBC News. In response to the kidnapping in Barrancas, marches ensued, as reported by The New York Times. The E.L.N. argued that the military presence in Barrancas impeded the safe and swift execution of their liberation plan. Subsequently, following the E.L.N.'s assertion, the Colombian Military withdrew, as disclosed in an official statement.
The Colombian Peace Commission, engaged in peace talks with the E.L.N., expressed that the capture had "plunged our talks into a critical situation," per The New York Times. As noted by the UN, the 2016 peace agreement with the FARC group in Colombia preceded the Colombia UN Verification Mission. Sky News reported that the E.L.N. had been in a ceasefire with the Colombian government since August. The UN Security Council unanimously voted, facilitating the expansion of the Colombia UN Verification Mission to observe the E.L.N. ceasefire closely.