- The Colombian government has urged the ELN guerrilla group to release the kidnapped father of Liverpool winger Luis Díaz, with its chief negotiator in broader peace talks, Otty Patiño, stating on Tuesday that there are no more excuses for his continued abduction.1
- This comes as the military has repositioned troops that were on the ground close to the border with Venezuela to search for Luis Manuel Díaz in the town of Barrancas, leaving that area free of any offensive operation and fulfilling the demanded security guarantees for the potential handover of the hostage.2
- The ELN, or National Liberation Army, claimed in a statement issued on Monday that military operations in the undisclosed area were hindering the plan to quickly and safely release Díaz Sr., mentioning potential risks of incidents with official forces under that scenario.3
- Luis Manuel Díaz was kidnapped at gunpoint on Oct. 28 in the northeastern department of La Guajira, along with his wife Cilenis Marulanda — who was released shortly after. Their car was intercepted by the guerrilla group, whose primary revenue comes from detaining civilians.4
- The 26-year-old Colombian soccer player revealed an emotional plea for the release of his father in a t-shirt printed with the words 'Freedom for Dad' written in Spanish under his jersey after he scored a late equalizer against Luton on Sunday.5
- Established in 1964 to fight the Colombian state, the ELN is a guerrilla group in Colombia. Earlier this year, the two agreed on a bilateral six-month cease-fire that came into force on Aug. 3 as part of Pres. Gustavo Petro's 'total peace' strategy.6
- Narrative A, as provided by Guardian. Though more than a week has passed since the rebel group announced their intent to unilaterally release Luis Manuel Díaz, the presence of government forces in the local area has delayed the plan due to increased risks to his safety. He will be promptly released when the situation allows.
- Narrative B, as provided by Liverpool echo. It's certain that ELN leaders have expressed their willingness to release Luis Díaz's father as soon as possible, but their deeds must match their words. As time passes and his abduction persists, the situation becomes increasingly precarious for Luis Manuel Díaz. Additionally, the rebels must recognize that their actions have breached the ongoing peace process.