Major search under way in Colombia for Diaz’s father

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Liverpool's Diogo Jota is applauded by team-mates while holding up a shirt in support of Liverpool's Luis Diaz as he celebrates scoring their first goal
Liverpool players showed their support for team-mate Diaz in their win against Nottingham Forest at Anfield

A major military and police search is under way in Colombia for the father of Liverpool player Luis Diaz, with the authorities offering a £40,000 reward for information leading to his rescue.

More than 120 soldiers, plus police, searched northern Colombia for Luis Manuel Diaz on Sunday, with reports armed men had taken him and his wife.

The player’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was found in Barrancas on Saturday.

Diaz was absent from the Liverpool side which beat Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

In a statement, the army said it had set up roadblocks and deployed two motorised platoons, unmanned aircraft, helicopters and a plane with radar in the search for his father.

The Colombian authorities have not provided details about the reported kidnapping, but local media said Diaz’s mother and father 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 .

Colombia President Gustavo Petro said “all the public forces have been deployed” to find Diaz’s father.

Speaking on Sunday, the director of the National Police, General William Rene Salamanca, announced a reward of “up to 200m pesos” (about £40,000) for information.

Attorney General Francisco Barbosa said he had contacted Diaz twice to provide the 26-year-old with updates on the investigation.

Barbosa told the player that information has been obtained regarding the possibility that his father could be in Venezuela – a situation which, Barbosa said, would require intervention by President Petro.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp dedicated Sunday’s 3-0 Premier League victory over Nottingham Forest to Diaz, saying they had won “for our brother”.

Surrounded by his team-mates, Diogo Jota held up the Colombia player’s number seven shirt after scoring Liverpool’s first goal.

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”.

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