Colombia detains 4 in kidnapping of Liverpool football star Luis Díaz

Police in Colombia have detained four people suspected in the kidnapping of the father of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz, who was held hostage for nearly two weeks by members of the ELN guerilla group, officials said Saturday.

Luis Manuel Diaz was freed Thursday. He had been abducted by armed men on motorcycles at a gas station in the town of Barrancas near the Venezuelan border.

The ELN, which is in peace negotiations with the government and is party to a six-month ceasefire that took effect in August, described the kidnapping by one of its units as a “mistake.”

“We have detained four people allegedly responsible for the kidnapping of Luis Manuel Diaz,” the National Police of Colombia said in a statement on social media platform X.

The suspects were captured in the northern department of La Guajira, where the kidnapping took place, police said. They had two firearms on them.

The police did not release the suspects’ names, but said they belonged to a criminal group known as Los Primos. They did not say how the group was connected to ELN.

The elder Diaz’s wife Cilenis Marulanda was kidnapped together with him on October 28, but was rescued hours later.

Luis Manuel Diaz was the founder and amateur coach of the only football academy in Barrancas, where his son showed promise from a very young age.

Known locally as “Mane,” Diaz Sr. is credited with aiding the meteoric rise of the Liverpool and Colombia striker.

On Friday he said he had been held by two different groups during the kidnapping.

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“I felt a change after three days, when it seemed that I was already in the hands of the ELN. They spoke to me differently and treated me differently,” he told reporters.

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