Police search forest for kidnapped father of Liverpool star Luis Diaz - as they offer £39k reward for information

31 October 2023, 20:22

Luis Diaz
Luis Diaz. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Police are searching a mountain range in Colombia for the kidnapped father of Liverpool star Luis Diaz - with a reward being offered for information.

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Diaz's mother, who was taken at the same time over the weekend, is now free but authorities have stepped up the search for his missing father.

Police have been carrying out aerial patrols across the Perija mountain range, which straddles the border with Venezuela and is covered by a forest.

They have offered a reward worth around £39,000 for information leading to the rescue of Luis Manuel Diaz.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are continuing to support the winger, with assistant manager Pep Lijnders saying the club was "doing the right thing".

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"We try to support him now as much as we can - lot of things out of our hands," said Lijnders.

"I think and I feel that it's only for Liverpool Football Club that the players know we're doing the right thing. It's not for me to say what we're doing for Luis Diaz.

"As long as he knows that we're doing all the right things and we pray. The whole club is behind him, he has that feeling then for me, it's right.

"The authorities are doing everything, everything we hear is that they're trying everything, that's the most important thing that is family are OK."

Colombian police director general William Salamanca was seen visiting the operation in order to "recognise our commandos for their bravery and commitment to rescue him safe and sound" in a post on social media.

Colonel Giovanni Montanez, director of the elite military unit against kidnapping and extortion, told local media that "so far no demands have been made... no calls have been received" for ransom.

Colombia's head coach Nestor Lorenzo sent a message of support to Diaz, saying: "I fight with you all. We pray and cry out for the speedy release of your father. HEALTHY AND SAFE. All COLOMBIA WITH YOU," the Argentinian posted on Instagram.

"We are still waiting for the release of the dad of @luisdiaz19_ that sanity reigns, we want him HEALTHY and SAFE!!! we are with you Lucho."

Police have suggested they have an idea who is behind the kidnapping.

"Without naming names, because we do not have that capacity, we have clarity of people who have been linked to the incident," the deputy director of the Colombian Police, General Alejandro Zapata, told newspaper El Tiempo.

"When an event like this occurs, this is not spontaneous, there is prior planning, people who perhaps drag people to a point so that others can move them."