Colombian kidnappers release father of U.K. footballer Luis Diaz

Jacob Diaz Brito (C), father of Luis Manuel Diaz, and grandfather of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz, along with family and friends watch on television Luis Manuel Diaz' release after twelve days kidnapped by the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army in Barrancas, Colombia, on Thursday. Photo by Ricardo Maldonado Rozo/EPA-EFE

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Colombian National Liberation Army guerrillas have freed the abducted father of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz after 13 days in captivity, according to local media and police sources.

The Colombian Football Federation said in a statement, "The Colombian Football Federation thanks the National Government, the military forces and the National Police, as well as all the institutions and officials that made the release of Luís Manuel Díaz, father of our player Luís Díaz, possible."

According to local media reports, a military helicopter transported the elder Diaz to the city of Valledupar for a medical exam before being reunited with his family.

El Tiempo newspaper reported that the Diaz family in Barrancas celebrated the news and the family was to be reunited in La Guajira. The guerrilla group ELN released Luis Manuel Diaz to a humanitarian commission composed of the Colombian Ombudsman's Office, the U.N., the Catholic Church and the Red Cross.

The Liverpool Football Club wrote on X, "We are delighted by the news of Luis Diaz''s father's safe return and we thank all those involved in securing his release."

Reacting to the elder Diaz's release Colombian President Gustavo Petro said on X, "Long live Freedom and Peace."

Luís Manuel Díaz and Louis Diaz's mother Cilenis Marulanda were confronted by armed kidnappers at a gas station in Barrancas Oct. 28, but the mother was left behind as police responded.

"We report with joy the release of Don Luis Manuel Díaz," the Colombian government's commission for peace talks said in a Thursday morning statement. "We hope that he will soon regain his tranquillity, disturbed by an act that should never have happened."

Luis Diaz is on Colombia's national team as well as the Liverpool football club in Britain.