Liverpool forward Diogo Jota shows off a shirt with the name of forward Luis Diaz
Liverpool forward Diogo Jota shows off a shirt with the name of forward Luis Diaz AFP / Ian Hodgson AFP News

A massive rescue operation is underway in Colombia to find the father of Liverpool FC forward Luis Diaz, with the authorities offering a reward of £40,000 (200m pesos) for any information leading to his return.

The military and police are working hand in hand as Colombia is not leaving any stone unturned in their quest to find Diaz's father, Luis Manuel Diaz. On Sunday, over 120 soldiers, along with police, searched northern Colombia for Diaz's father after reports emerged that armed men had kidnapped the player's parents from La Guajira, a region in Colombia that borders Venezuela.

Police rescue Luis Diaz's mother

Diaz's mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was later found in Barrancas by police on Saturday, Colombia's President Gustavo Petro said.

"In a padlock operation in Barrancas, Luis Diaz's mother has been rescued, we continue the search for the father," the President wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In a statement, the army said it had set up roadblocks and positioned two motorised units, unmanned aircraft, helicopters and a plane with radar in the search for Diaz's father.

While exact details of the kidnapping have not been released yet, reports circling in Colombian media are suggesting that Diaz's parents were taken by armed men on motorcycles at a gas station in Barrancas, their home town, which is in La Guajira, the country's northern region.

"From the moment when Colombia's General Prosecutor's Office learned of the kidnapping of the parents of Colombian player Luis Díaz in the Barrancas area of La Guajira, a specialist team of prosecutors, CTI (Technical Investigation Team) officials and investigators from the police and military have been taking urgent action to locate these individuals, clarify the chain of events and identify the culprits," The Colombian attorney General's office said in a statement.

Colombia deploy all public forces in ongoing rescue operation

Attorney General Francisco Barbosa is believed to be in contact with Diaz, who is still in Liverpool and has been receiving updates on the investigation.

Barbosa is said to have told the player that there is a possibility that his father could be in Venezuela - a situation which, the attorney general said, would require intervention by President Petro.

Petro, meanwhile, has ensured that "all the public forces have been deployed" to find Diaz's father.

Liverpool's heart-warming message of support to Luis Diaz

Diaz missed Liverpool's 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Sunday. The Reds boss Jurgen Klopp dedicated the victory to Diaz, saying they had won "for our brother".

Diogo Jota, after scoring the opening goal against Forest, paid a heart-warming tribute to Diaz. Surrounded by his teammates, Jota held up the Colombia player's No. 7 shirt, in front of a jam-packed Anfield. Even after the game, most of the Liverpool squad put up social media posts as they dedicated their victory to Diaz.

The club said before Sunday's game that they were "aware of an ongoing situation" involving the family of Diaz, adding the player's welfare "will continue to be our immediate priority".

Before the kick-off at Anfield on Sunday, Klopp said it was a "worrying situation for all of us".

"We had to obviously make a late change because of the private situation involving Luis Diaz," Klopp said.

After the Reds' easy victory over Forest, Klopp claimed that the team received the news the previous night and it was the most difficult he had ever had.

"When you're that long in the business, you think you have experienced everything but it's not about us. It's all about Lucho and his family. We all hope and pray everything will be fine. It was a shock to the system. I didn't know what to talk about in the team meeting," added Klopp.

Liverpool are in fourth place in the league table with 23 points, three points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool's next match is against Bournemouth in the League Cup on Wednesday.