Luis Diaz's father's kidnappers want 'guarantees' amid fears of release talks breakdown

The kidnappers of Luis Diaz's father have released a statement asking for safety guarantees before arranging a release.

It has been over a week since Luis Manuel Diaz was abducted by armed men in the Colombian town of Barrancas, sparking a major search and rescue operation involving the police and military.

Last week, guerrilla group the National Liberation Army (ELN) were identified as Diaz's father's captors, while a representative for the rebel organisation claimed that a release would take place 'as soon as possible'. There has, however, been no progress since then.

Diaz sat out Liverpool's wins Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth amid the distressing situation but came off the bench to score a late equaliser against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Sunday.

READ MORE: 5 talking points from Luton Town 1-1 Liverpool

In his celebrations, he revealed a shirt bearing the message 'freedom for dad'. After the match, the winger also posted an emotional message on social media, asking for his father to be reunited safely with his family.

A new statement from ELN, via Colombian outlet Semana, has continued to promise that Diaz Snr will be freed, but only when the group have 'security guarantees'.

“On November 2, we informed the country of the decision to release Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz, father of the player Luis Diaz," the statement reads.

“From that date, we began the process to accomplish this as soon as possible. We are making efforts to avoid incidents with government forces.

“The area is still militarised, they are carrying out flyovers, disembarking troops, broadcasting and offering rewards as part of an intense search operation.

“This situation is not allowing for the execution of the release plan quickly and safely, where Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz is not at risk.

“If operations continue in the area, they will delay the release and increase the risks.

“We understand the anguish of the Diaz-Marulanda family, to whom we say that we will keep our word to release him unilaterally, as soon as we have security guarantees for the development of the liberation operation.”

Semana's article notes that along with Diaz's father, some 50 people remain kidnapped by the ELN in Colombia, while tensions between the guerillas and the government have raised fears of the release talks breaking down.

Speaking after the draw at Luton, Jurgen Klopp called Diaz's goal 'emotional' but stressed the situation will only improve when his father is released.

"That we have to talk about that, it's wonderful, it's emotional and it's fantastic," Klopp said, referring to Diaz's 95th-minute equaliser.

"After the game no words were necessary. We just gave each other a hug. We know how he is – OK but desperately waiting for the right news. That's all.

"We had moments like this in the past. I understand 100 per cent that it's a nice story, honestly, and it's super-positive and great for him but these things go by. The real information we need is a different information. That's it. But anyway, it's a really, really positive thing for him. But all the other problems stay the same."

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