sport news Luis Diaz's family demand PROOF that the Liverpool star's father is still alive ... trends now
The left-wing ELN insurgent group so far failed to make good on its promise to free Luis Manuel Diaz despite saying at the end of last week it was working on liberating him as soon as possible.
It went on to accuse the Colombian government of hindering its efforts by maintaining a high military and police presence in the Perija Mountains on Colombia's border with Venezuela where father-of-four Luis Manuel is thought to be held.
But despite the government responding by ordering the withdrawal of troops and elite cops to Barrancas where the father-of-four was kidnapped on October 28, the 11-day ordeal is ongoing for footballer trainer Luis Manuel's family. The missing man's brother Gabi admitted they are worried and has 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 Manuel Diaz, the father of Liverpool forward Luis Diaz, is still missing after 11 days as a hostage of the ELN
Diaz Snr's brother Gabi has called for the guerilla organisation to offer the family proof of life
The group - which has been branded a terrorist organisation by the US government and the EU - has yet to make a move after troops were withdrawn from the Venezuelan border
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 are being echoed by government officials and Colombian media which has accused the captors of playing games and speculated it claims army and police activity was complicating the freedom process was an attempt to buy time while it negotiates a ransom demand.
No information has been made public about the possibility of a cash payment for Luis Manuel's release.
Last Thursday Colombian journalist Salud Hernandez-Mora, referring to Luis Diaz by his nickname of Lucho as he is better known in his homeland, warned after the government identified the ELN as the kidnappers around the time it emerged one of its regional units called the Northern War Front carried out the crime: 'The modus operandi of the kidnap of the parents of Lucho Diaz is identical to other kidnaps this criminal gang has carried out. And they only free people in exchange for millions.'
Respected Colombian media outlet Semana raged on Tuesday, in a hard-hitting article taking aim at the insurgent group and accusing it of lying: 'It's vital the ELN hands over proof Luis Manuel Diaz is alive, so his family and the country can see he is good conditions and is indeed in the hands of the Northern War Front.'
Otty Patino, the Colombian government's chief negotiator in ongoing peace talks with the ELN which started before the October 28 kidnap, said on Monday after soldiers and police were ordered back from the main search area: 'The ELN are taking too long to hand their hostage over.'
He added, speaking of a deadline that has now passed: 'They should free Mr Diaz today, there's no reason for them not to do it.'
Colombian military chiefs insisted on Monday they had laid the ground for the release 'in the next few hours' after confirming the withdrawal of troops and police.
On Sunday, Diaz payed emotional tribute to his family's ordeal with a t-shirt under his jersey
The community in Diaz's hometown of Barrancas has rallied around the family and held a number of marches demanding Diaz Snr's release
Around 200 men were told to return to the town of Barrancas to facilitate Operation Freedom after the ELN expressed its concerns.
The insurgent group simultaneously made a new pledge to release his dad. It followed Luis Diaz's emotional social media message late on Sunday, after he came off the bench to score a last-gasp equaliser for his team against Luton and lifted up his shirt to reveal the message: 'Freedom for Papa' on the T-shirt underneath.
The 26-year-old said, referring to his father by his nickname of Mane as he is better known: 'This is not Luis Diaz the player speaking. Today it is the son of Luis Manuel Diaz speaking.
'Mane, my dad, is a hard-working family man, the pillar of our family and he's been kidnapped.
'I ask the ELN for the prompt release of my father, and I ask international organisations to work together for his freedom
'Every second, every minute, our anguish grows. My mother, my brothers and I are desperate,