Four arrested over kidnapping of Luis Diaz's father after gang infiltrated school to keep star's dad under surveillance | The Sun

THE men who organised the kidnapping of Luis Diaz's father have been arrested after the gang reportedly infiltrated a school to keep tabs on the unsuspecting man.

Four people now face charges including kidnap and theft after they kept Manual Luis Diaz, 58, under constant surveillance – including stalking him around his hometown when he was out shopping.

One of the men was Yerdinson Bolivar Bolivar who reportedly went by "Arenca" or "Areca" during the plot.

He was a member of staff at a school Diaz had set up in his home town of Barrancas to help children learn to play football.

Colombian authorities have accused Bolivar of getting a job at the school so he could keep tabs on the Liverpool star’s father as part of a "covert infiltration" so they could track his movements and plan the heinous kidnapping.

A chilling picture put out by Colombian media shows the man standing behind Diaz in a shoe shop.

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The soon-to-be-hostage looks like he has no idea of Bolivar standing just feet behind him.

It hasn't been confirmed when the photo was taken yet.

A court hearing is due to take place today in the northern Colombian city of Riohacha.

Two other suspects, Marlon Rafael Brito Bolivar, nicknamed Marlon, and Brayan Javier Morales Sanjuan dubbed Brayan or Negro, are the men who were thought to have abducted Diaz and his wife while on motorbikes.

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The suspected final man, Andrys Alcides Bolivar Bolivar, is a currency exchange worker.

He's been coined the "mastermind" behind the whole operation after allegedly planning the elaborate plan before handing him over to the left-wing ELN group.

However, he hasn't been formally mentioned as the fourth man by the country’s Attorney General Francisco Barbosa yet.

Police described the joint plan a case of “criminal outsourcing."

Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional, otherwise known as ELN, announced they were responsible for the kidnapping when it was first made public but police now believe the guerrillas were just keeping Diaz hostage in their jungle lair.

Alejandro Zapata, deputy director of Colombia’s National Police confirmed investigators were treating the kidnap as a "premeditated crime" which had been meticulously planned.

He added: "When something like this happens, it is generally not spontaneous and there has been previous planning, people that draw people to a certain place, that is, who place them somewhere so that others arrive and that's what we are investigating."

Reports in Colombia have come out to say that a police officer who played an vital role in the capture of another ELN criminal in 2021 was again involved with freeing Diaz.

The officer helped identify the four men that grabbed Diaz and his wife on October 28.

Colombian police chief William Salamanca is said to have ordered the expert back to Bogota so he could work with British authorities on the case.

Several dangerous weapons were also taken during the arrest and operation dubbed "Operation Freedom."

Salamanca went on to say: “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.

“During the development of the operation we captured four people allegedly responsible for kidnapping Luis Manuel Diaz.”

One of the videos released by police show one of the suspects, wearing a white vest top, being read his rights as he was cuffed and held by an officer holding a gun.

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.”

The shock kidnapping of Diaz's parents sparked an international manhunt after they were brazenly snatched by gunmen.

The 26-year-old's mum and dad had stopped at a petrol station in Barrancas, their hometown, when they were ambushed and led away by men on bikes.

Diaz's mum, Cilenis Marulanda, was rescued the same day, but her husband was made to walk everyday and dragged through the jungle until he was rescued 12 days later.

After his release, an exhausted Diaz was greeted by crowds of people cheering for him and celebrating his freedom.

The first words he spoke was: "I thank God for this second chance".

"I thank Colombia for this great support."

He also thanked his local community for offering support to his family and said: "Thank you all, I love you very much."

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"Very soon I will have the opportunity to greet them and give them a hug. Thank you very much, my people."

The man was thought to be okay apart from a slight knee injury.

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