Armed Gangs Terrorize Ecuadorian TV Station in Coordinated Attack, President Declares State of Armed Conflict

QUITO, Ecuador — An Ecuadorian television station in Guayaquil was attacked by armed and hooded men during a live broadcast on Tuesday, creating a state of panic among the staff. The incident took place as the country’s new president declared a state of armed conflict.

During the attack, one of the assailants can be heard saying, “Tell them we have bombs.” The armed men brandished explosive devices in front of the cameras at the public TC Televisión station. While gunshots could be heard in the background, no injuries were reported, according to the police.

Law enforcement authorities have detained around 10 of the alleged attackers, some of whom are believed to be affiliated with the gangs Los Tiguerones and Los Lobos, senior intelligence officials revealed.

This assault on the TV station was part of a series of coordinated attacks that occurred within a 24-hour period across the country. The attacks included approximately 30 car explosions and the kidnapping of seven police officers. Additionally, riots broke out in several prisons, with reports of armed individuals holding dozens of guards captive.

According to intelligence officials, these attacks appeared to be a response to the government’s plan to transfer top gang leaders to maximum-security prison wards. The operation was reportedly orchestrated by the gang Los Lobos. President Daniel Noboa had previously declared a state of emergency after a prominent gang leader escaped from prison.

As chaos unfolded in Guayaquil, the presidential complex in the capital city of Quito was evacuated. As of now, there have been no reports of fatalities or injuries, which suggests that the attacks were primarily intended to instill fear.

Intelligence analysts speculate that these attacks may have been triggered by an ongoing investigation known as Metastasis. The investigation focuses on uncovering the links between drug traffickers, criminal gangs, and political operators. Last month, several high-ranking security officials and judges were arrested for their alleged involvement in criminal activities related to drug traffickers.

Ecuador has experienced a surge in violence in recent years due to its role as a crucial cocaine transit point. Gangs vie for control of drug routes and prisons within the country. President Noboa, who took office late last year, promised to restore order after a violent election cycle. However, Fernando Villavicencio, a presidential candidate who campaigned against the connection between criminals and politicians, was assassinated shortly before the first round of voting.

The recent state of emergency declaration following the prison escape of a convicted murderer and gang leader, José Adolfo “Fito” Macías Villamar, highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the government in combating organized crime.

In summary, armed men attacked a television station in Guayaquil, Ecuador, during a live broadcast, leading to a state of armed conflict being declared by the president. Coordinated attacks, including car explosions and prison riots, have occurred across the country. The assaults are believed to be a response to the government’s plans to transfer top gang leaders to maximum-security prison wards. The violence underscores the pervasive influence of criminal organizations in Ecuador.