Luis Diaz father kidnapping latest: police update on captors as hundreds march in Colombia

Colombian authorities have indicated that the father of Liverpool's winger, Luis Diaz, is still in the country, while suggesting that they may have identified individuals involved in the kidnapping.

Luis Manuel Diaz and his wife Cilenis Marulanda were abducted by armed gunmen on motorbikes in the town of Barrancas over the weekend.

While Marulanda has since been found by police, the search remains on for the Liverpool winger's father, with a large-scale rescue mission underway in Colombia.

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According to El Tiempo, intelligence operations have confirmed that Mr. Diaz likely remains within Colombia and has not been taken to nearby Venezuela – despite previous fears that he had been smuggled out of the country. Authorities are reportedly concentrating a thorough search near the forest-covered Perija mountain range.

Around 230 elite police and army commandos are now part of the search operation, which also involves a Black Hawk helicopter and an airplane equipped with heat-detection sensors.

General Alejandro Zapata, the deputy director of the Colombian National Police, also suggested that several individuals had been recognised as being implicated in the kidnapping, after their faces were captured on security cameras.

"We have clarity of people who could have been linked to the event," General Zapata said, via Semana. "When events like this occur, it is generally not spontaneous, there is prior planning, people who drag people to a place, that is, they locate them so that others can arrive, and that is what we are investigating.

"What we know is that the kidnapping occurs in La Guajira and logically it is close to the border, we do not have at this time any element of judgment that indicates that the border has been crossed. We can't say for sure, but we don't rule it out either. It's quite possible that they're looking for a chance to escape to that place.

"We have made progress in the investigation, there are personnel from the Gaula and the Intelligence and Judicial Police who are analysing that information."

Meanwhile, hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Colombia, marching for the safe release of the Liverpool number seven's father.

READ MORE: Ex-Colombia star calls for football to stop while search for Luis Diaz's father goes on

In efforts to bring Diaz's father back to his family, a march organised on social media by family and friends took place on Tuesday, with participants dressed in white, including Diaz's mother.

A widely circulated poster shared by the Liverpool star's partner, Gera Ponce, read, "This Tuesday, October 31, the Barranquilla sit-in will be held to demand the release of Luis Manuel Díaz, father of football player Luis Díaz, kidnapped in Barrancas, Guajira. The event will take place in Boulevard Buenavista from 5 pm and is open to all interested individuals wishing to support the cause."

26-year-old Diaz is reportedly set to stay in England despite the ongoing situation, having been advised to do so over security fears.

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