Liverpool striker Luis Diaz unveiled a T-shirt with the words ‘Freedom for Dad’ after Liverpool’s equalizer against Luton.
The rebel group holding Luis Diaz’s father hostage has demanded “security guarantees” before his release.
The National Liberation Army (ELN) said the ongoing military and police search would “delay release and increase risks,” Colombian media reported.
Luis Manuel Diaz was kidnapped at gunpoint along with his wife in Barrancas, Colombia, on October 28.
Liverpool player Diaz has called on the kidnappers to release his father immediately and end the “painful wait”.
His mother was left in a car after the kidnapping as police closed in, but his father was taken hostage.
Colombia international Diaz saved a point for Liverpool with an injury-time goal at Luton Town on Sunday in his first game since his parents were kidnapped.
The ELN reiterated its intention to release Diaz’s father “as soon as possible.”
However, a statement signed by Commander Jose Manuel Martinez Quiroz added that the current scale of the search operation carried out by the Colombian authorities was delaying this process.
“We are trying to avoid incidents with government forces,” the ELN said. “The area is still militarized, they are conducting overflights, landing troops, broadcasting and offering rewards as part of an intensive search operation.”
“This situation does not allow the rapid and safe implementation of the release plan, since Mr. Luis Manuel Diaz is not at risk.”
“If operations continue in the region, releases will be delayed and risks increased.”
“We understand the grief of the Diaz Marulanda family, to whom we say that we will keep our word to unilaterally release him as soon as we have security guarantees for the development of the liberation operation.”
Both of Diaz’s parents were arrested at gunpoint by left-wing ELN guerrillas in his hometown of Barrancas in the northern province of La Guajira.
But while his mother was found later that day, his father remains missing and the Colombian government has deployed hundreds of police and soldiers to the search.
Diaz, 26, had not played for Liverpool since their Europa League win over Toulouse on October 26 but returned to the squad for Sunday’s Premier League game at Luton.
After scoring his team’s equalizer, Diaz raised his jersey to display the message “Freedom for Dad” and later released a statement calling for his father’s release.
“I beg that they release him immediately, respect his integrity and end this painful wait. In the name of love and compassion, we ask them to reconsider their actions and allow us to get him back,” Diaz said.
Source : www.bbc.co.uk