Church in Colombia Thanks God for Release of Kidnapped Father of Soccer Star Luis Díaz

The Colombian bishops shared two photos showing Díaz’s father accompanied by Msgr. Henao and Bishop Ceballos.

Luis Manuel Díaz, father of soccer player Luis Díaz (center), along with Francisco Ceballos, bishop of Riohacha (right), and Monsignor Héctor Henao, delegate for Church-state relations, who formed the humanitarian commission in charge of facilitating Díaz's release.
Luis Manuel Díaz, father of soccer player Luis Díaz (center), along with Francisco Ceballos, bishop of Riohacha (right), and Monsignor Héctor Henao, delegate for Church-state relations, who formed the humanitarian commission in charge of facilitating Díaz's release. (photo: Episcopal Conference of Colombia)

The Colombian Bishops’ Conference thanked God for the release of Luis Manuel Díaz, father of soccer player Luis Díaz, who was held captive for nearly two weeks by the rebel group the National Liberation Army (ELN).

“We thank God for the release of Mr. Luis Díaz! Already with him are Francisco Ceballos, bishop of Riohacha, and Monsignor Héctor Henao, delegate for Church-state relations, who formed the humanitarian commission in charge of facilitating his release,” the conference said in a post on X on Nov. 9.

The father of the soccer star, who plays for the English Liverpool team, had been kidnapped along with his wife, Cilenis Marulanda, by the guerrillas in the town of Barrancas, in La Guajira Department. Cilenis Marulanda was released by the kidnappers during the search that the authorities launched upon learning of the abduction.

The Colombian bishops shared two photos showing Díaz’s father accompanied by Msgr. Henao and Bishop Ceballos.

According to Semana magazine, investigations indicate that the kidnapping was planned for at least five months.

The kidnapping ignited controversy especially because it took place during the bilateral cease-fire agreed upon between the government and the guerrillas — which began on Aug. 3 — as part of the talks aimed at reaching a peace agreement.

On Nov. 3, the Colombian Bishops’ Conference issued a statement condemning any kind of kidnapping and called for the release of Luis Manuel Díaz. The bishops offered their willingness to “collaborate in whatever is necessary so that there is not a single human being experiencing the harsh conditions of kidnapping.”

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