An Ecuadorian TV station, TC, experienced a broadcast interruption on Tuesday, caused by individuals carrying weapons.
Individuals, clad in balaclavas and black clothes, brandished firearms and took frightened employees hostage. Some of the intruders gestured towards the camera, accompanied by shouts of “no police.” The national police confirmed their intervention via social media, evacuating the Guayaquil studio of the public channel, ensuring the safety of the staff, and working to restore order.
Guayaquil’s police confirmed the arrest of 13 individuals, sharing images on social media depicting young men restrained on the floor with their hands tied behind their backs.
According to TC news coordinator and reporter Leonardo Flores Moreno, the assailants gained entry through Gamavision’s reception, attacked staff members, and left dynamite behind.
“We were in a meeting when they alerted us, and we were able to hide,” said Flores, who was not on the sound stage during the takeover, but reported that two people at TC had been injured.
“We don’t know what is happening, people are nervous, there are many colleagues from Gama and TC who are hiding,” Flores said, adding that he could hear helicopters overhead.
The incident occurred the day after Noboa announced a state of emergency, following the kidnapping of at least seven police officers and a string of explosions. Noboa implemented a 60-day state of emergency on Monday due to prison unrest.
In an updated decree issued on Tuesday, Noboa acknowledged an “internal armed conflict” and categorized close to twenty gangs, including Los Choneros, as terrorist organizations. The administration has attributed the violence to opposition against Noboa’s proposal to construct a new maximum-security prison and relocate incarcerated gang leaders.
“Today’s events show that the actions and decisions taken by the national government are severely affecting criminal structures, and in response, they have created a wave of violence to frighten the populace,” Admiral Jaime Vela, head of the joint command of the armed forces, said after a security meeting with Noboa and other officials.
All the groups mentioned in Noboa’s decree are now military targets, Vela added.
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