Colombian police have arrested four men allegedly involved in the kidnapping of Liverpool star, Luis Diaz’s father.
Luis Manuel Diaz was freed on last Thursday after 12 days in captivity, having been taken by armed members of the left-wing guerrilla group Ejercito de Liberation Nacional (ELN) on October 28.
He was captured at gunpoint with his wife when they stopped for watermelons at a petrol station. Luis’ wife was released shortly after the kidnap.
William René Salamanca Ramírez, Director General of the National Police of Colombia, wrote: ‘In coordination with @FiscaliaCol [the Attorney General’s Office], we captured, in Maicao and Barrancas (La Guajira), four people accused of participating in the kidnapping of Mr. Luis Manuel Díaz, father of ‘Lucho’ Díaz, star of our Colombian Soccer Team.
‘We launched “Operation Freedom” on the same day of the kidnapping, which allowed us to identify the alleged intellectual and material authors, among them the criminal group ‘Los Primos’, which commits crimes through criminal outsourcing.’
The arrested men have been named locally as Andrys Alcides Bolivar Bolívar; Marlon Rafael Brito Bolivar; Brayan Javier Morales Sanjuan; and Yerdinson Bolivar Bolivar, according to the Daily Mirror.
While Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was freed on the same night of the capture, his father endured 12 days of uncertainty.
Officials said they could not rule out the possibility that he had been smuggled over the border to Venezuela through a dense jungle, meaning he would have been out of reach of Colombian police. A reward of about £40,000 was offered for crucial information.
On Thursday, he was taken into the hands of a ‘humanitarian commission’ made up of the Catholic church and the UN.
Breaking down in tears as he spoke for the first time since his release, Diaz Sr said: ‘I ask my brothers from the mountains, let’s put down our weapons, let’s use the pen and the notebook, let’s work to make it Colombia is the country that has the best peace.
Diaz also thanked God for ‘a second chance’ after driving back home.
‘I thank Colombia for this great support’, he added. ‘Very soon I will have the opportunity to greet them and give them a hug. Thank you very much, my people.’