LUIS Diaz’s dad was forced to walk for almost a week day and night as his captors tried to stay out of reach of police hunting them.
Luis Manuel Díaz Jimenez, 58, feared he wouldn’t make it out alive as he endured a terrifying 12-day ordeal after being kidnapped by ELN guerrillas in Colombia..
He was greeted by family and friends after his ordealCredit: EPA
Luis Manuel Diaz Jimenez with Monsignor Francisco Ceballos, the first of the rescue team to see himCredit: The Mega Agency
Liverpool’s Diaz (L) with his mum and dad Luis ManuelCredit: Supplied
But on Thursday the Liverpool star’s father was reunited with his jubilant friends and family after finally being released by the rebel group who captured him on October 28.
Roman Catholic bishop Monsignor Francisco Ceballos, the first person who saw Luis Manuel Diaz alive after going to his rescue, has now revealed the harrowing trauma he went through.
Ceballos, the Bishop of Riohacha in Colombia’s northern Caribbean region, told a Colombian TV station: “It’s a very emotional moment when you see a person who has been deprived of his liberty in front of you.
“I met him practically on the path he was coming along.
“I was the first person who saw him. I hugged him and he began to cry.
“He was very emotional and very tired because of the long walks he had to do.
He told me he had to walk continuously for two days plus another four days when he was kidnapped.
“Of the 13 days he was kidnapped he was walking for six days day and night.”
The footballer’s dad had injured his knee after coming off a motorbike his ELN hostage-takers used to abduct him on October 28.
He was immediately taken to hospital to be checked over after being swooped to safety by helicopter.
Asked if Luis Manuel Diaz was aware of the intense police and military operation to snare his captors and rescue him while he was still a hostage, Monsignor Ceballos said: “What he told me was that he sensed the helicopters very near, that they were very close by.
“He of course felt afraid because when the army is carrying out those search operation and the guerrilla insurgents are trying to hide, the moment comes when the person who’s been kidnapped is at risk.
“He was concerned there was going to be a confrontation.”
Luis Manuel Diaz broke his silence following his release, thanking people for their support.
In an emotional speech, he said: “First of all, thank God for this second chance, for bringing me back home.
“I thank Colombia for this great support. Thank you all, I love you very much.
“Very soon I will have the opportunity to greet them and give them a hug. Thank you very much, my people.”
Following the news of his dad’s release, winger Diaz played for Liverpool in their Europa League clash against Toulouse.
Luis Manuel Diaz was taken hostage at gunpoint alongside his wife on October 28 in Barrancas.
The Liverpool star’s mum was left in the car and saved by police but left-wing ELN fighters dragged the father away following a pursuit.
Colombian authorities have offered a reward of $200,000,000 Pesos (£40,600) for Diaz’s return.
He was freed by the rebel group on ThursdayCredit: EPA
Diaz was seen recieving medical attention after his 12 day ordeal.