Ecuador declares emergency after masked gunmen storm TV studio, fire shots: 10 interesting points

The South American country of Ecuador has been experiencing a series of attacks and police officer abductions since Monday, January 8 night. In another escalation of a series of attacks, some masked gunmen stormed TC Television studio in Ecuador and unleashed 15 minutes of horror–all broadcast live.

No one was killed in the attack and authorities say the 13 attackers were arrested and would be charged with terrorism.

  1. Ecuador President Daniel Noboa came into power in November and headed proceedings against “illegal” activities. In Ecuador, gangs have previously assassinated a presidential candidate and set off car bombs in front of government buildings. 
  2. Daniel Noboa who had vowed to bring peace to the country ordered that the violence-plagued country had entered an “internal armed conflict.”
  3. On Tuesday, masked gunmen, in an unprecedented attack, broadcasted live 15 minutes of threats and horror while mid-afternoon newscast at the TC Television studio in Guayaquil was underway. A series of events unfolded on the day starting with a masked man appearing with a pistol in the middle of the public TV station’s live transmission. A second man followed with a shotgun, then a third and more appeared and ordered station employees to lie down.
  4. The head of news for TC TelevisionOne, Alina Manrique along with other station employees were ordered by these gunmen to lie down on floor. One of the assailants said, “We are on air, so you know that you cannot play with the mafia,” reported AP. These gunmen aimed guns at news staff while an employee said, “Don’t shoot!” 
  5. Hours after a series of attacks and police officer abductions took place, the news of assault on a TV station in Ecuador surfaced.
  6. Authorities informed that there was no casualty, 13 gunmen were arrested and will be charged with terrorism. Daniel Noboa convened a meeting later in the day with his security Cabinet. The head of the Armed Forces Joint Command informed that the attacks were counter reactions to the government moves against these gangs.
  7. Over the series of assaults, Adm. Jaime Vela said, “They have unleashed a wave of violence to frighten the population.” Jaime Vela described the attacks as “unprecedented” in Ecuador’s history.
  8. A political analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, Will Freeman said, “This is a turning point,” while noting that recent events marked a new peak in violence, reported AP. Will Freeman added, “Depending on how the government responds it will set the precedent for these kinds of incidents to continue, or it will use this as a catalyst and make some very necessary structural reforms so that the state can start to win its war against crime,” reported AP.
  9. On Sunday, a notorious Los Choneros gang leader Adolfo Macías, alias “Fito,” escaped from prison following which President Noboa declared a national state of emergency on January 8. With this order authorities suspended people’s rights and mobilised the military in places like prisons.
  10. Noboa issued another order on Tuesday that designated 20 drug trafficking gangs as terrorist groups and empowered Ecuador’s military to “neutralise” them within the bounds of international humanitarian law.

Also read: Indian vs Chinese tourists in Maldives: The rise and fall in last 10 years

The authorities stated that over 30 attacks have taken place since Los Choneros escaped from prison. Los Choneros was going to be transferred to a maximum security facility on Sunday. Another gang leader, Fabricio Colón Pico of the Los Lobos group had escaped from prison who was apprehended on Friday.

Also read: ‘If I don’t get immunity, then…’: Donald Trump warns US President of prosecution if charges against him stand

(With inputs from AP)

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Published: 10 Jan 2024, 01:40 PM IST

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