Luis Diaz’s father asks Catholic bishop who saved him from ELN kidnapping to ‘remarry him’ to wife after he lost his wedding ring during 13-day ordeal
The Roman Catholic bishop who rescued Luis Diaz’s father has revealed he asked him to “marry him again” after losing his wedding ring during his 13-day kidnapping.
Monsignor Francisco Ceballos said Luis Manuel Diaz asked him to officiate the ceremony in which he will renew his wedding vows to Cilenis Marulanda.
The pair were taken hostage together on October 28. Cilenis was abandoned shortly afterwards by the roadside near her hometown of Barrancas, but her 58-year-old husband was taken to the Perija Mountains on Colombia’s border with Venezuela and left trapped with his left hand. wing of ELN hostage takers until Thursday.
He is now resting after being reunited with his family and speaking to his Liverpool striker son, who missed football action at the start of the kidnap drama but came off the bench to score Liverpool’s final equalizer against Luton on Sunday.
Monsignor Ceballos, who on Thursday described how he was the first person in the humanitarian team to see Luis Manuel Diaz alive after rescuing him, said: “He told me I had to marry him again because he had lost his ring.
Luis Manuel Diaz will renew his vows with his wife Cilenis Marulanda after losing his wedding ring during a 13-day kidnapping
Monsignor Francisco Ceballos (right) was among the first to see Luis Diaz’s father after he was released by ELN
Diaz Snr was kidnapped almost two weeks ago in his hometown of Barrancas, Colombia
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“He said he wanted to renew his wedding vows.”
He said the father of four had only formalized his relationship with Luis Diaz’s mother last year, promising: “We will definitely do it whenever they want.”
Respected Colombian media outlet Semana claimed after the footballer’s father was released that his hostage takers stole all his valuables before handing him over.
Blame is being blamed on the “men on motorcycles” involved in the kidnapping of Luis Manuel Diaz and his wife while they were buying watermelons at a gas station. They said they took the football player’s coach’s ring, necklace and bracelet.
Semana adds: ‘They were not just expensive objects. Above all, they had great sentimental value.’
Monsignor Ceballos did not elaborate on the circumstances of how Luis Manuel managed to part with his wedding ring. It is also known that he suffered a knee injury after coming off the motorcycle one of his captors was riding.
The bishop had previously revealed to a Colombian radio station that Mr Diaz had had to walk day and night during his kidnapping ordeal.
Speaking about the emotional moment of meeting him when he was released, he said: “It’s a very emotional moment when you see someone in front of you who has been deprived of his freedom.
“I met him practically on the trail he came along.
The monsignor told reporters that Diaz senior had been forced to walk day and night by kidnappers
The Roman Catholic bishop was part of a humanitarian coalition – including members of the UN – that helped facilitate the release of Diaz Snr.
Marulanda was also taken hostage by the organization, but was released hours after the couple was snatched from the streets
‘I was the first to see him. I hugged him and he started crying. He was very emotional and very tired because of the long walks he had to take.
“He told me he had to walk continuously for two days plus another four days when he was kidnapped.
“Of the thirteen days he was kidnapped, he walked day and night for six days.”
Asked whether football coach Mr Diaz was aware of the intensive police and military operation to ensnare his captors and rescue him while he was still hostage, Monsignor Ceballos explained: “What he told me was that he felt that the helicopters were very close, that they were very close.
“He was of course afraid because when the military conducts those search operations and the guerrilla insurgents try to hide, there comes a point when the kidnapped person is in danger.
“He was afraid there would be a confrontation.”
The release took place after several previous hopes for a rescue failed to materialize. The left-wing insurgent group ELN admitted responsibility for the kidnapping at the end of last week. It says a regional unit called the Northern War Front committed the crime.
Kidnapping civilians is a traditional practice of the ELN, a Marxist-Leninist group founded in 1964 by radical Catholics inspired by Cuba’s communist revolution.
It was behind a January 2019 car bomb attack on a police academy in Bogota, which killed 21 people and injured 68 others. This made it one of the deadliest attacks ever in the Colombian capital.
Fears grew earlier this week after the ELN postponed Diaz Snr’s release, but on Thursday the Liverpool star’s father was finally released
Diaz senior appeared visibly moved by his ordeal as he spoke at a press conference on Friday
Marulanda (left) led a number of community demonstrations calling for her husband’s release
Peace talks have been ongoing between the ELN and the Colombian government since March 2020, when the guerrilla group declared a unilateral ceasefire while continuing to take innocent people hostage and raise ransoms.
Mr Diaz insisted no ransom was handed over after his release.
His wife made an impassioned plea to the kidnappers to release him after he was snatched. She said as she took part in a second march in Barrancas on Sunday to demand his freedom: ‘I want them to release him now, for the people who are holding him to release him now, because we want him back home. .’
She burst into tears after speaking and was comforted by a family member.