Home Breaking News Ecuador Declares State of “Internal Armed Conflict” as Gangs Storm TV Station Amid Nationwide Chaos

Ecuador Declares State of “Internal Armed Conflict” as Gangs Storm TV Station Amid Nationwide Chaos

Ecuador Declares State of “Internal Armed Conflict” as Gangs Storm TV Station Amid Nationwide Chaos

In a shocking turn of events, Ecuador has plunged into chaos as heavily armed gangsters stormed the TC Televisión network’s studio in Guayaquil, prompting President Daniel Noboa to declare a state of “internal armed conflict.” The brazen attack unfolded during a live broadcast of the El Noticiero news programme, with the armed assailants brandishing pistols, shotguns, machine guns, grenades, and dynamite.

Ecuador TV studio shooting: "Please Don't Shoot": Gunmen Storm Ecuador  Studio After Big Prison Escape

The assailants, later apprehended by police special forces, overran the studio, causing panic among reporters and camera operators. Messages pleading for help flooded messaging groups as the criminals rampaged through the building. “They want to kill the lot of us. Help us,” read one desperate plea from the newspaper El Universo.

Soldiers patrol outside the government palace during a state of emergency in Quito, Ecuador on 9 January 2024.

Alina Manrique, head of news for TC Television, described the harrowing experience of facing a gunman in the control room. The attackers were eventually subdued by law enforcement, and police commander César Zapata labeled the incident as a “terrorist act.”

Ecuador Declares State of “Internal Armed Conflict”

The televised assault unfolded against a backdrop of widespread criminal activity across Ecuador. Unconfirmed reports highlighted armed men entering a university in Guayaquil, looting in downtown Quito, and disturbing social media videos depicting the apparent lynching of prison guards held hostage by inmates.

As the country grapples with escalating violence, Peru declared an emergency along its northern border with Ecuador. Prime Minister Alberto Otarola announced the deployment of army troops to support police forces, emphasizing the severity of the situation.

Armed gang storms Ecuador TV studio after state of emergency declared |  Crime News | Al Jazeera

In response to the escalating crisis, President Noboa issued a decree designating 20 drug trafficking gangs as terrorist groups. This decree grants the military authority to “neutralize” these criminal factions within the bounds of international humanitarian law. The move followed the escape of Adolfo Macías, alias Fito, the leader of the notorious Los Choneros drug gang, prompting Noboa to declare a state of emergency.

Despite these measures, organized crime gangs displayed a defiant show of force, kidnapping police officers in Machala and Quito. The situation intensified as dozens of prison guards were held hostage, adding to the unrest that erupted after Macías’ escape.

President Noboa, elected on a platform to crack down on violent crime, remains resolute, refusing to negotiate with what he calls “terrorists.” His government attributes the recent prison violence to plans for a new high-security prison and the transfer of jailed gang leaders. As the nation faces this unprecedented turmoil, Noboa also proposes a referendum to strengthen crime-fighting measures, including asset seizures from suspected criminals and longer prison sentences.


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