Díaz’s father, Luis Manuel, and his wife, Cilenis Maruland, were kidnapped at gunpoint by the left-wing guerrilla group ELN on October 28. The woman was quickly released, however, Díaz’s father remained captured and dragged into the jungle. The group made the release conditional on “security guarantees” from the Colombian government.
Shortly after the capture, the government, police and army intervened in the rescue operation. The kidnappers, who wanted to negotiate the terms of the truce with the state administration, then issued a statement criticizing the government’s actions and the deployment of elite soldiers around their territory. The statement also said that these actions would only delay the release, and that they had no intention of harming Díaz’s father. The second son of Luis Manuel Lucho subsequently spoke publicly to the kidnappers, calling for their release.
This finally happened after 13 days of non-freedom. The rebels delivered him into the hands of government officials, and Díaz was taken from the scene by helicopter. After flying to safety, he spoke about his martyrdom and described that he would not wish these horror experiences even on his enemy. “Fortunately, the kidnappers didn’t want anything and everything happened legally. I wouldn’t wish anyone to be in the situation up in the mountains that I was in,” stated Luis Manuel Díaz.
“We rode for a long time, it was really hard, lots of mountains, it rained all the time. I could hardly sleep, it was 13 days without sleep. I still don’t understand why I was actually kidnapped. Guerrilla people told me that I didn’t have a problem with anyone and to be calm that nothing would happen to me. They knew about my community work in the village,” confided the player’s father.
The Colombian footballer has now used the international break and his national team’s World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Paraguay and a friendly with Mexico to reunite with his father. The Colombian Football Federation captured the reunion in their photos. “I had the opportunity to greet him before the league game in England and he was really happy to be back with the family,” added Luis Manuel Díaz.