On Tuesday, amidst a surge of violence throughout the country that has prompted President Daniel Noboa to designate 22 groups as terrorist organizations warranting military pursuit, gunmen in Ecuador take over live TVbroadcasts.
According to witnesses in the coastal city of Guayaquil, police eventually rescued the TV staff and detained the thirteen men who stormed into TC's studio during a live broadcast armed with long-range weapons, grenades, and dynamites.
Gunmen in Ecuador holding guns on live TV
Men wearing face coverings allegedly stormed the set of an Ecuadorian public television station on Tuesday while brandishing firearms and explosives, according to official statements. Consequently, the nation engaged in what the president termed an "internal armed conflict."
The men were equipped with firearms and what appeared to be dynamite rods. A nationwide newsprogram on the set of TC Television in Guayaquil witnessed their entrance. The males announced that they were armed with bombs. Gunshot-like sounds could be detected.
There were no fatalities in the assault. Subsequently, each of the thirteen perpetrators was apprehended and charged with terrorism, according to officials. Since a sixty-day state of emergency was declared in Ecuador on Monday, a minimum of ten souls have perished.
Following the disappearance of a notorious criminal from his prison cell, an emergency was declared. The connection between the occurrence at the television studio in Guayaquil and the presumed disappearance of Adolfo Macías Villamar, better known as Fito, from a prison in the same city remains uncertain.
President Noboa declared on Tuesday that the country was currently embroiled in an "internal armed conflict" and that he was mobilizing the armed forces to conduct "military operations to neutralize" "transnational organized crime, terrorist organizations, and belligerent non-state actors," according to the president.
As per a document disseminated via social media, Noboa urged the armed forces to conduct military operations in opposition to transnational criminal organizations operating in Ecuador, in accordance with international humanitarian law, and in observance of human rights.
To protect territorial integrity and sovereignty from transnational organized crime, he issued an order for the nationwide deployment of police officers and military forces.
As hostile non-state actors and terrorist organizations, the decree designated the following criminal organizations as such: "Aguilas, AguilasKiller, Ak47, Caballeros Oscuros, ChoneKiller, Choneros, Corvicheros, Cuartel de las Feas, Cubanos, Fatales, Ganster, Kater Piler, Lagartos, Latin Kings, Los Lobos, Los p.27, Los Tiburones, Mafia 18, Mafia Trebol, Patrones, R7, and Tiguerones."
The government of neighboring Peru issued an order for the urgent deployment of a police force to the border in an effort to avert the spread of instability in that nation.
The United States stated that it "firmly opposes" the "blatant assaults" that occurred in Ecuador and is "closely coordinating" with President Daniel Noboa and the government of Ecuador, adding that it is "prepared to offer assistance."
In addition to bananas, Ecuador is a leading exporter of oil, coffee, cocoa, shrimp, and marine products. An increase in violence within and beyond the penitentiary walls of the Andean nation has been attributed to conflict between foreign and domestic drug cartels over cocaine routes to the United States and Europe.
On Tuesday afternoon, the president of Ecuador proclaimed an "internal armed conflict" in response to the seizure of numerous public areas by gunmen across the nation. A live television broadcast featured distressing visuals of individuals carrying rifles and donning balaclavas.
The hooded men were captured on camera coercing TC Television employees to the ground and holding journalists at gunpoint while gunfire and cries could be heard in the background.
Since then, footage of the takeover has gone viral on the internet, and reporters who were being held captive inside the station in Guayaquil flooded message boards pleading for assistance.