Liverpool star player, Luis Diaz’s family have demanded the kidnappers holding his father hostage to show proof he is alive as concerns about their failure to release him grows.
The terrorist group so far failed to keep its promise to free Luis Manuel Diaz despite saying at the end of last week it was working on liberating him as soon as possible.
The group accused the Colombian government of hindering its efforts by maintaining a high military and police presence in the Perija Mountains on Colombia’s border with Venezuela where father-of-four Luis Manuel is believed to be held.
But despite the government responding by ordering the withdrawal of troops and elite police to Barrancas where the father-of-four was kidnapped on October 28, the 11-day ordeal is ongoing for footballer trainer Luis Manuel’s family.
The missing man’s brother Gabi admitted they are worried and have begged the ELN (the terrorist group), to offer proof the 58-year-old is still alive.
He said: ‘What we would most like is to have that proof by seeing him and knowing what situation our brother, our relative, our papa, our son is in, because my father is here and wants to see his son.’
Luis Alfonso Diaz, the footballer’s cousin, told Colombian state broadcaster RNC: ‘We are asking the ELN to send us proof of how Luis Manuel is now so we can have some peace of mind.’
The demands are being echoed by government officials and Colombian media which has accused the captors of playing games and speculated it claims army and police activity was complicating the freedom process was an attempt to buy time while it negotiates a ransom demand
Last week Thursday Colombian journalist Salud Hernandez-Mora, referring to Luis Diaz by his nickname of Lucho as he is better known in his homeland, warned after the government identified the ELN as the kidnappers around the time it emerged one of its regional units called the Northern War Front carried out the crime:
The modus operandi of the kidnap of the parents of Lucho Diaz is identical to other kidnaps this criminal gang has carried out. And they only free people in exchange for millions.’ He said
Respected Colombian media outlet Semana said; ‘It’s vital the ELN hands over proof Luis Manuel Diaz is alive, so his family and the country can see he is good conditions and is indeed in the hands of the Northern War Front.’
Otty Patino, the Colombian government’s chief negotiator in ongoing peace talks with the ELN which started before the October 28 kidnap, said on Monday after soldiers and police were ordered back from the main search area: ‘The ELN are taking too long to hand their hostage over.’
He added, speaking of a deadline that has now passed: ‘They should free Mr Diaz today, there’s no reason for them not to do it.’