THE case of Luis Diaz's dad has suffered a fresh blow as a massive war has erupted between cartel boss Patricia Nevada and other guerrilla leaders within the Northern War Front over the ransom payment.
The ELN guerrillas group have been accused of "playing" with the freedom of the Liverpool star's dad who got kidnapped by the group 12 days ago.
The Colombian government announced last night that the operation to release Luis Mane Diaz has already begun as Diaz's worried family has begged kidnappers to offer proof of life.
The 58-year-old remains hostage after he was abducted by the guerrilla group from a petrol station in Barrancas, in the northern province of La Guajira on October 28.
A potential reason for the delay could be a suspected war that has broken out between leaders of the Northern War Front over the ransom for Diaz's release.
Colombian authorities have offered a reward of $200,000,000 Pesos (£40,600) for Diaz's return.
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According to Colombian intelligence, the row has broken out between female guerrilla fighter Patricia Nevada, the person in charge of the group's finances and another chief using the alias Ronal, Semana reports.
Ronal, operating from a camp called The Donkey, is said to refuse to hand over Diaz until a payment of "a large sum of money" is paid.
In their most recent statement, ELN blamed the delay in the release of the 58-year-old on the large military and police presence in the area.
However, following their demands for "security guarantees" around 200 men scouring Colombia's Perija Mountains for the missing man, were withdrawn to the town of Barrancas.
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The rebel group admitted snatching Diaz was a "mistake" and vowed to release him as soon as possible but so far has failed to do so.
Colombia's attorney general Francisco Barbosa slammed the ELN group during a meeting with National Federation of Departments (FND) and blamed it for "playing" with Diaz's freedom.
He said: "There is the institutionality that the Prosecutor's Office is disgusted by seeing how criminals play target games with our soldiers and police in Catatumbo, or how this week our soldiers in El Plateado (Cauca) were dragged like animals by the dissidents of Iván Mordisco.
"Or to see how the ELN plays with the freedom of the father of our star soccer player Luis Díaz."
While former Minister of the Interior, Juan Fernando Cristo said the ELN is "mocking" Colombian authorities.
He said: "The delay in the release of Luis Manuel Díaz is a mockery by the ELN to the government and to Colombians.
"They do not understand the enormous damage they do to the credibility of a peace process that they have mortally wounded."
Colombian authorities previously seemed positive the ELN will keep its promise with the government's head negotiator with the guerrilla group, Otty Patiño, confirming the man should be freed soon.
But as days pass there is still no word on Diaz amid fears the group is stalling.
Diaz's family begged kidnappers to offer proof he is still alive as his brother said: “What we would most like is to have that proof by seeing him and knowing what situation our brother, our relative, our papa, our son is in because my father is here and wants to see his son.”
Luis Alfonso Diaz, the footballer’s cousin, told Colombian state broadcaster RNC: “We are asking the ELN to send us proof of how Luis Manuel is now so we can have some peace of mind.”
It came as the UN also joined the calls to free the footballer's kidnapped dad Luis Manuel Diaz.
The Liverpool star broke his silence with an emotional social media appeal.
The 26-year-old, referring to his father by his nickname "Mane" wrote on Instagram: “This is not Luis Diaz the player speaking.
"Today it is the son of Luis Manuel Diaz speaking.
“Mane, my dad, is a hard-working family man, the pillar of our family and he’s been kidnapped.
“I ask the ELN for the prompt release of my father, and I ask international organisations to work together for his freedom
“Every second, every minute, our anguish grows.
"My mother, my brothers and I are desperate, distressed and without words to describe what we are feeling.
"This suffering will only end when we have him back home.
“I beg you to release him immediately, respecting his integrity and ending this painful wait as soon as possible.
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“In the name of love and compassion, we ask you to reconsider your actions and allow us to have him back.
“I thank Colombians and the international community for the support received, thank you for so many demonstrations of affection and solidarity in this difficult time that many families in my country find themselves experiencing.”
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