Masked gunmen assault public TV channel in Ecuador

Amidst escalating violence and turmoil in Ecuador, a harrowing incident unfolded at a television studio in Guayaquil, where masked gunmen stormed a live broadcast on the public television channel TC.

A dramatic incident unfolded at a television studio in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where masked gunmen stormed a live broadcast on the public television channel TC.

The assailants threatened staff, causing panic and forcing employees onto the floor before the live feed abruptly ended. Reports suggest that the attackers left the studio with several hostages. Police responded and made arrests in connection with the incident.

This alarming event occurred amid a 60-day state of emergency declared in Ecuador following the disappearance of Adolfo MacĂ­as Villamar, also known as “Fito,” a prominent figure from the Choneros gang, triggering concerns about potential connections between these incidents.

Ecuador, known for its export of bananas, oil, coffee, cocoa, shrimps, and fish products, has been experiencing increased violence attributed to clashes between local and foreign drug cartels vying for control over cocaine routes to the US and Europe.

During the assault at the TV station, gunmen wielded firearms, terrifying the captives. Witness accounts described moments of terror as individuals pleaded for mercy and others screamed in distress.

President Daniel Noboa responded by mobilizing the armed forces to combat what he referred to as “transnational organized crime, terrorist organizations, and belligerent non-state actors.” His actions were prompted by a series of violent incidents, including jail riots, prison escapes, and various acts of violence attributed to criminal gangs.

The state of emergency expanded to enforce a nightly curfew in an effort to restore order following Fito’s escape.

However, chaos continued to escalate, with reports of additional prison breaks and kidnappings of law enforcement officers, who issued a statement warning of intensified conflict.

Residents in different cities, including Quito and Cuenca, expressed shock and anxiety over the deteriorating security situation, citing increased nervousness, traffic, and a sense of chaos in their daily lives.

Ecuador’s prisons have been marred by internal conflicts among rival gangs, resulting in multiple deadly confrontations. Fito’s escape, reportedly aided by prison guards, poses a challenge to President Noboa’s administration, already under strain following the assassination of presidential candidate and journalist Fernando Villavicencio, who had received death threats from Fito before his tragic demise.

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