A unit of the ELN guerrilla group was behind the kidnapping in Colombia last weekend of Liverpool winger Luis Diaz's parents, the government said Thursday.
The kidnapping of Luis Manuel Diaz and Cilenis Marulanda — she was rescued the same day — "was perpetrated by a unit belonging to the ELN," a government official said on X, formerly Twitter, adding: "we demand the ELN immediately free" the missing man.
The ELN and the government of leftist President Gustavo Petro are in the midst of peace negotiations that include a six-month ceasefire, currently in effect.
Colombia and Liverpool striker Diaz's parents were taken Saturday by armed men on motorcycles at a gas station in their home town of Barrancas in the northern La Guajira department. Marulanda was rescued in Barrancas hours later.
Colombian authorities have said there has been no ransom demand.
"We demand the ELN immediately free Luis Manuel Diaz," said Thursday's statement signed by Otty Patino, the head of the government delegation in peace talks with the ELN.
He added it was the ELN's "responsibility to guarantee his life and integrity."
Attorney General Francisco Barbosa has said the older Diaz "could be" in Venezuela, without giving further details.
The ELN has not claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.