Colombia has deployed hundreds of soldiers and police officers to find the father of Liverpool FC left winger Luis Díaz, after he and his wife were abducted by gunmen on motorcycles at a gas station in their small hometown of the Barrancas on October 28, officials said.
Díaz’s mother was rescued hours later nearby, Colombian President Gustavo Petro confirmed, but his father is still unaccounted for.
Colombian National Police have deployed over 100 officers in the search for Díaz’s father, Luis Manuel Díaz, and are offering a 200 million peso ($48,500) reward for information leading to his rescue. Some 120 soldiers have also been dispatched with the rescue party along with radar-equipped planes and helicopters in the search for the football star’s father.
Videos show soldiers and officers scanning the Perija mountain range via helicopter, the mountainous area in northern Colombia that borders Venezuela. Officials said Tuesday that they believed it is where Díaz’s father is being kept captive.
The Colombian footballer, who joined the Premier League with Liverpool FC last year under a $67 million contract, has flown back to Colombia as the search for his father continues.
“How can you make a football game really important on a day like this?” Liverpool FC Head Coach Jurgen Klopp said to the media after a 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest the day after the player’s father was snatched.
“We ask the captors of Luis Manuel Díaz, father of Luis Díaz, to release him now, without conditions,” the Colombian national team wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Football is peace. Lucho, we are with you. Colombia is with you.”
Kidnappings have surged this year in Colombia, with El Pais reporting more than double the number of abductees in 2023 compared to 2022 from January to March, mostly as captives held over ransom money. The country is the biggest cocaine-producing nation in the world, and home to criminal groups and guerrilla armies who are involved in the international cocaine business.
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