These are the first pictures of the four men arrested over the abduction of Luis Diaz’s father.
They face charges including kidnap and theft, with a court hearing due to take place later today in the northern Colombian city of Riohacha.
On Saturday night, it emerged one of the four men, Yerdinson Bolivar Bolivar who is said to use the alias ‘Arenca’ or ‘Areca’ was a trainer at Manuel Luis Diaz’s football school in his home town of Barrancas.
Colombian authorities have accused him of seeking a job there so he could keep the Liverpool star’s father under surveillance as part of a ‘covert infiltration’ and build up a picture of his movements.
A chilling picture published by Colombian media outlet Semana shows ‘Areca’ behind Mr Diaz, who seems to be unaware of the other man’s presence, walking behind him in a shoe shop.
Pictures have been released of the four men arrested in Colombia over the abduction of Luis Diaz’s father – they are due to appear in court on Sunday. Top left, Andrys Alcides Bolívar Bolívar, alias Andrys; top right, Marlon Rafael Brito Bolívar, alias Marlon; Bottom left, Yerdinson Bolívar Bolívar, alias Areca; Bottom right, Brayan Javier Morales Sanjuan, alias Brayan
A chilling image released by police in Colombia showed one of those arrested ‘stalking’ Luis Manuel Diaz in a shoe shop as they build up a picture of his movements
Luis Manuel Diaz (right) speaks to the media alongside his wife Cilenis Marulanda following his release from 12 days of captivity
Diaz Snr received medical care after being rescued following 12 days in captivity as his family and friends held their breath
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It has not been made clear when the photo was taken.
The two other suspects, Marlon Rafael Brito Bolivar, alias Marlon, and Brayan Javier Morales Sanjuan, alias Brayan or Negro, are said to have ridden the motorbikes used to abduct Mr Diaz and his wife Cilenis Marulanda who was rescued shortly afterwards.
The fourth man, Andrys Alcides Bolivar Bolivar, is a currency exchange worker who has been described as the leader of the operation and the man who organised his handover to the left-wing ELN insurgency group who later took responsibility for taking Mr Diaz hostage in what police have described as a case of ‘criminal outsourcing.’
Local reports have pointed to the ELN using the gang allegedly led by Alcides, known by the alias of Andrys, to deflect attention from their role in the crime.
Alcides’ gang has been named as Los Primos which in English translates as ‘The Cousins’, although prosecution chiefs have also referred to them as Los Primates, English for ‘The Primates’.
The shadowy criminal organisation is said to specialise in drug trafficking and has reportedly been identified as a sub-division of the notorious Gulf Clan, whose former leader Dairo Antonio Usaga was once seen as one of the world’s most dangerous drug lords.
Usaga, better-known as Otoniel, was sentenced to 45 years in a US prison in August after pleading guilty to high-level drug trafficking charges.
Luis Manuel Diaz pictured with his son Luis Diaz, who plays for Liverpool and Colombia
Luis Manuel Diaz walks free from captivity on Thursday having been missing for 12 days
He broke down in tears during an emotional press conference following his release
Reports overnight in Colombia said a police officer who played an instrumental role in Otoniel’s capture in October 2021 in his jungle hideout, before he was extradited the following year to the US, helped identify the four men held over Luis Manuel Diaz’s kidnap.
He is said to have been in England when the October 28 abduction occurred, but was ordered back to Bogota by Colombian police chief William Salamanca so he could work with British authorities on the case.
Although footage of the arrests published by Colombian press showed four men being captured, and police confirmed four men had been held, the country’s Attorney General Francisco Barbosa only referred to three of the men and made no mention of the alleged ringleader.
Several weapons were also seized during the operation to arrest the suspects.
William Salamanca said: ‘We put Operation Freedom in motion the day of the kidnap, which enabled us to identify the alleged intellectual and material authors, among them the criminal group called ‘Los Primos’ who offend using the ‘criminal outsourcing’ method.
The Liverpool star’s mother (above in 2019, left centre) was rescued the day after the abduction on October 28 but his father (left) was only released on Thursday
Diaz lifted up his Liverpool shirt, in his first game since the kidnapping, to release a message that said in Spanish: ‘Freedom for Papa’ after scoring at Luton
Military personnel involved in the extensive search for Luis Manuel Diaz in La Guajira
The National Liberation Army – abbreviated as ELN in Spanish – is a leftist anti-government group made up of over 2,000 fighters and militants based in the Colombian countryside
‘During the development of the operation we captured four people allegedly responsible for kidnapping Luis Manuel Diaz.’
One of the videos released by police showed one of the suspects, wearing a white vest top, being read his rights as he was held.
Speaking on Saturday, two days after the release of Luis Diaz’s father, Francisco Barbosa said: ‘We have made good on our pledge and less than 72 hours after Mr Luis Manuel Diaz, the father of the footballer Luis Diaz, recovered his freedom we have captured the kidnappers.’
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