Operation to free Luis Diaz’s father from guerrilla kidnappers has BEGUN, negotiator says as details of release emerge

Operation to free Luis Diaz’s father from guerrilla kidnappers has BEGUN, negotiator says as details of release emerge

THE RELEASE operation of Luis Diaz’s dad has begun, the Colombian government has said.

The government’s peace talks chief negotiator with the ELN rebel group Otty Patino has predicted that the 58-year-old will be returned to his family today.

AFPThe ELN has reportedly started the release operation[/caption]

Luis Diaz’s father is set to be released by his kidnappers today

PAThe chief negotiator insisted the man will be returned to Diaz’s family today[/caption]

Even though the release of Luis Mane Diaz did not happen yesterday as Patino had said, the negotiator insisted today: “This is in their hands and we trust it will be soon.

“There will no doubt be problems, but things are on the right track.”

Diaz’z kidnappers from the Northern War Front, have reportedly contacted the United Nations and church representatives to develop the different stages of the freedom operation in what has been described as a “first-stage” move.

The second phase would involve a humanitarian commission heading to a location which will not be made public so an eventual handover can take place.

That phase may already be in progress according to Colombian outlet Semana.

The third and final phase would be Luis Manuel’s rescue by a “liberation commission.”

There has been no official comment from the government regarding the reports on how far the “liberation operation” has come.

The dramatic new developments come after Luis Diaz’s family demanded the kidnappers holding his father hostage offer proof he is alive as concern about their failure to release him grew.

The missing man’s brother Gabi admitted they were worried and begged the ELN, branded a terrorist organisation by the US government and EU, to offer proof the 58-year-old is still alive.

He said: “What we would most like is to have that proof by seeing him and knowing what situation our brother, our relative, our papa, our son is in, because my father is here and wants to see his son.”

Luis Alfonso Diaz, the footballer’s cousin, told Colombian state broadcaster RNC: “We are asking the ELN to send us proof of how Luis Manuel is now so we can have some peace of mind.”

The demands were echoed by government officials and Colombian media which has accused the captors of playing games and speculated its claims army and police activity was complicating the freedom process was an attempt to buy time while it negotiates a ransom demand.

Soldiers and elite cops had been ordered back from the Perija Mountains on Colombia’s border with Venezuela where the search was focusing after the ELN claimed they were making it difficult to give up their hostage.

The ELN said on Monday in a statement signed by the unit’s leader Commander Jose Manuel Martinez Quiroz: “On November 2, we informed the country of the decision to release Mr. Luis Manuel Díaz, father of the player Luis Díaz.

“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 Díaz 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 Díaz 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.”

Luis Diaz’s dad was snatched on October 28. His wife Cilenis Marulanda was also abducted but was released shortly afterwards.

EPAForces were withdrawn from the Perija mountains following ELN’s demands[/caption]

AFPProtesters calling for the release of Diaz’s father in Barrancas[/caption]

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