Armed Gunmen Take Over TV Studio, Threaten Crew Members

TV TAKEOVER - Armed Gunmen STRIKE

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A group of individuals bearing arms forcefully entered a television studio in Ecuador amidst a surge in violence across the region. The motive behind their takeover and the threat posed to the crew remain unknown. The distressing incident unfolded on live television for approximately 15 minutes before the broadcast was abruptly interrupted.

According to NPR, armed individuals entered the set of the TC Television network wielding handguns and what seemed to be dynamite sticks. Their intrusion occurred in the midst of a live news broadcast, exposing thousands of viewers to the assailants’ takeover of the studio, compelling everyone on-site to the floor. 

Distinct sounds resembling gunshots could be heard in the backdrop, accompanied by threats from the armed men, claiming possession of bombs. The incident resulted in a cameraman sustaining a gunshot wound to the leg, and another individual experiencing a broken arm during the assault.

Ecuador is grappling with a surge in violence orchestrated by formidable criminal gangs, and recent kidnappings have specifically targeted law enforcement officers. The organized crime networks, primarily responsible for the country’s drug trafficking, have escalated their activities, culminating in the assassination of a presidential candidate in 2023. 

The uptick in attacks seems correlated with the escape of Adolfo “Fito” Macías, the leader of the Los Choneros gang, from a low-security facility. Authorities had been in the process of transferring him to a maximum-security prison on the day of his disappearance. Currently, two prison guards suspected of aiding in the escape are under detention.

The incident at the TV studio is just one element contributing to President Daniel Noboa’s decision to declare a national state of emergency. This declaration grants the military authority in critical areas, particularly in prisons where gangs wield significant influence. As reported by BBC, the emergency decree, encompassing an evening curfew, is slated to endure for a period of 60 days. The government has formally initiated a campaign against terrorist groups, issuing orders for the “neutralization” of gang members and the restoration of order throughout the country.

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