Armed Men Storm Live TV Broadcast Station In Ecuador's Guayaquil Amid State Of Emergency; Video Goes Viral

Armed Men Storm Live TV Broadcast Station In Ecuador's Guayaquil Amid State Of Emergency; Video Goes Viral

The National Police of Ecuador posted on X, formerly Twitter, that 'specialised units' have responded to the emergency at the media station.

ANIUpdated: Wednesday, January 10, 2024, 07:56 AM IST
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Armed Men Storm Live TV Broadcast Station In Ecuador's Guayaquil Amid State Of Emergency; Video Goes Viral |

Amid a state of emergency in Ecuador, a live television broadcast was interrupted by hooded and armed men on Tuesday as the Guayaquil-based network was on air amid a spate of kidnappings and violence in the country, CNN reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, hooded men forced the staff onto the floor of the studio as shots and yelling were heard in the background. Videos of the incident, which took place at the state-owned TC Television, went viral on social media, the report stated, adding that its live stream signal is currently down.

The National Police of Ecuador posted on X, formerly Twitter, that 'specialised units' have responded to the emergency at the media station.

According to CNN, the country has been rocked by several explosions, police kidnappings, and prison disturbances just hours after President Daniel Noboa declared a nationwide state of emergency on Monday after high-profile gang leader Adolfo "Fito" Macias escaped from a prison in Guayaquil.

Since Noboa's announcement, at least seven police agents have been kidnapped in three different cities, according to a post on X by the National Police.

Security Situation Deteriorating Day By Day

The country's worsening security situation is largely driven by rival criminal organisations, which have been meting out brutal and often public shows of violence in the country's streets and prisons in their battle to control drug trafficking routes, CNN reported.

In one of the kidnappings this week, in which three agents were taken, an explosive device had been "placed and detonated" in a vehicle the officers were moving in, police said.

In Esmeraldas, in the northwest of the South American country, two vehicles were set on fire with one causing a blaze at a gas station.

The police also found a burned vehicle with traces of gas inside in the capital, Quito. Residents reported on social media that they had heard a loud explosion in the area.

Police also said they had received reports of an explosion at a pedestrian bridge outside Quito and attended 'over 20 emergencies' during (Monday) evening and overnight (Tuesday) in different parts of the country. There are currently no known casualties related to the explosions.

Ecuador's penitentiary service, the SNAI, said at least six incidents took place inside prison facilities Monday, including disturbances and retention of penitentiary agents. This situation in the prisons, they say, has not been controlled.

Gangster Escapes Prison

Meanwhile, another alleged gang leader, Fabricio Colon Pico, escaped from a prison in Riobamba in the last few hours, according to the city's mayor Jhon Vinueza.

Colon Pico was captured last Friday after being publicly identified by Ecuador's Attorney General, Diana Salazar, as being part of a plan to attack her. Along with Colon Pico, 38 other inmates escaped, of which 12 have been recaptured, the SNAI told CNN.

Ecuador's Armed Forces said they carried out control operations Monday night and early Tuesday in the most conflict-ridden areas.

Meanwhile, Ecuador's National Assembly held an emergency meeting to "generate concrete actions in the face of the national commotion and multiple acts that threaten public peace." The search for Adolfo Macias, more popularly known by his alias 'Fito', continued as more than 3,000 police officers and members of the armed forces have been deployed to find him, the government said on Sunday. Ecuadorean authorities said they have not yet pinpointed the exact time and date that Macias escaped prison.

Macias is the leader of Los Choneros, one of Ecuador's most feared gangs, which has been linked to maritime drug trafficking to Mexico and the US in coordination with Mexico's Sinaloa cartel and the Oliver Sinisterra Front in Colombia, according to the Insight Crime Research Center, CNN reported.

He was jailed after being convicted of drug trafficking. Before his assassination, the late Ecuadorian presidential candidate, Fernando Villavicencio, said in July he was threatened by Macias and warned against continuing with his campaign against gang violence for the leadership.

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