On Tuesday, armed gunmen stormed a live broadcast of TC Television in Guayaquil, Ecuador, threatening the station’s staff and warning against police intervention.
The assailants, some brandishing guns and claiming to have bombs, forced the station’s staff to lie on the ground while shouting threats, as the terrifying incident was broadcast live. Sounds of gunshots could be heard echoing in the background before the broadcast was abruptly cut off.
Just hours after the incident, further footage was released from the area, allegedly from the University of Guayaquil, showing similar armed men storming the university’s campus and reportedly attempting to kidnap students.
The attack comes following the escape of one of the nation’s most notorious drug gang bosses, Adolfo Macías , also known as “Fito,” from prison. President Daniel Noboa declared a 60-day state of emergency following the escape.
Macías was serving a 34-year sentence for organized crime, drug trafficking and murder, which started in 2011. He previously escaped from a maximum-security prison in 2013, but was recaptured weeks later. The latest escape highlights the growing concerns over the power of criminal organizations within Ecuador’s prison system.
Macías leads the infamous Los Choneros gang, which is believed to have connections with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, and has been linked to a surge of violence in Ecuador.
Since Macías’ escape, the country has “been rocked by a series of violent incidents, including explosions and the kidnapping of several police officers. These developments have put a spotlight on the escalating violence in Ecuador, linked to drug trafficking and gang activities.”
In response to the rise in violence, the president of Ecuador recently announced “internal armed conflict,” deploying the military to counteract “terrorist groups.”
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