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Luis Diaz’s dad finally rescued as kidnappers hand him over to end Liverpool star's torment

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Luis Diaz’s dad finally rescued as kidnappers hand him over to end Liverpool star's torment

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Luis Diaz’s father, Luis Manuel Diaz, has finally been released by his kidnappers in Colombia, ending the torment for the Liverpool forward and his family

Luis Diaz’s kidnapped father has finally been released, to the relief of the Liverpool star and his family.

The 58-year-old is now in the safe hands of a United Nations committee, who helped conduct the extraction via helicopter from the jungle where he was being held hostage.

It is a huge relief for Diaz, who has discovered news of his father's condition just minutes before he was named in Liverpool's starting XI to face Toulouse in the Europa League. He has continued to play during the ordeal and even scored Liverpool's equaliser at Luton at the weekend, before revealing a message of support to his dad on his undershirt.

Diaz’s parents were kidnapped at the end of last month – his mother was subsequently freed quickly – but despite pledges from his captors, the National Liberation Army of Colombia (ELN), to release Luis Manuel Diaz, it has taken longer than expected.

It was confirmed earlier this week that soldiers and police had been ordered out of the area, in the Perija Mountains on Colombia’s border with Venezuela, where the hunt for Diaz Sr had been focused. The Colombian Army, who have led the search, said they had withdrawn to Barrancas, where Diaz Sr had been abducted, saying “we can state that the area in question is free of any type of offensive operation”.

The military said that “all the guarantees and conditions are being offered so Mr Diaz can recover his freedom in the next few hours”. And it has now been confirmed that Diaz Sr has indeed been let go to be reunited with his loved ones, with a helicopter having been flown out to the nearby Valledupar airport to collect him.

It has been almost two weeks of torment for Anfield star Diaz, who was given compassionate leave by the Reds before returning to training last week. He bravely played at Luton on Saturday, scoring Liverpool’s added time equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw.

After that game, Klopp said: "A wonderful moment but it doesn't change the situation. Most important thing is that his father gets released. It is wonderful he wanted to be here. That's it, for us a super important goal and for him very important and emotional, but that's it."

And when asked if he felt Diaz would play an awesome part in the outcome at Luton, Klopp added: "He can always do that. When he is on the pitch he is always involved in special things."

It was on Sunday evening that Diaz released a statement on social media which included: "Every second, every minute our anguish grows; My mother, my brothers and I are desperate, distressed and without words to describe what we are feeling. This suffering will only end when we have him back home."

Thankfully, the torment is now over. The ELN had been in contact with authorities since their part in the kidnapping was uncovered, which includes communication with Colombia's President, Gustavo Petro. And those discussions have finally led to Diaz Snr's safe release.

Daily Star Sunday
 
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