Liverpool player Luis Diaz had a sad meeting with his father on Tuesday. His father was freed last week after being held hostage for 12 days by Colombia’s ELN rebel group.
Diaz was back in Colombia to join the national team before their World Cup qualifying match against Brazil on Thursday in the port city of Barranquilla. This is where he met his dad, Luis Manuel Diaz.
Pictures released by the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) show the two crying as they hugged each other.
He was 56 years old and wore a black T-shirt that said “No more kidnapping.”
The FCF said on its website, “After 12 days without freedom, this is the first contact of the player with his father and the rest of the family, who lived long moments of anguish.” The statement was accompanied by a picture of the two men, with the football player’s young daughter sitting on her grandfather’s knee.
On October 28, armed men on motorbikes took Luis Manuel Diaz and his wife Cilenis Marulanda from a petrol station in their home town of Barrancas, which is close to the border with Venezuela.
After hours, Marulanda was found, and a huge search operation was started on the ground and in the air for her husband.
Peace talks between the ELN and the government started in August, and a six-month ceasefire is part of those talks. The ELN called the kidnapping by one of its groups a “mistake.”
The rebels gave Diaz to aid workers in a rocky border area last Thursday, after days of tough talks.
The next day, he told reporters at his home in Barrancas that his captors made him walk “too much” and not get much sleep.
The cops said on Saturday that they had caught four people who were involved in the crime.
The founder and only football school in Barrancas is Luis Manuel Diaz. His son showed promise from a very young age and now plays for the academy.
People say that Diaz Sr. helped his son’s rapid rise. His son has played 43 times for his country and is the first Indigenous Colombian to make it to the top levels of world football.
AFP was told that he sometimes sold food that he had cooked himself to pay for his son’s trips to Barranquilla, where he made his start.
After that, the young striker known as “Lucho” played for Porto and now for Liverpool.