In Ecuador, armed men broke into the premises of a television station during a live broadcast.

Several journalists and employees were threatened and taken hostage by a group of criminals with machine guns and explosives, as seen on television images. “We’re on the air so they know not to play with the mafia,” a man said into the camera. Gunshots and people screaming could also be heard in the recordings. It was the state television station TC Televisión in the port city of Guayaquil.

Arrest of several people

Criminals broke into the premises of a media company in Guayaquil, the Ecuadorian police said on the platform X, formerly Twitter. “Special forces would be deployed on site to deal with this emergency.” Shortly afterwards, the police confirmed the arrest of several people.

Just a day earlier, President Daniel Noboa had declared a state of emergency in view of the chaotic conditions in the South American country’s prisons. This means, among other things, that the right to assemble is temporarily restricted, according to the decree published on Monday. In addition, a nighttime curfew will apply for the next 60 days.

Escape from drug lords

Criminal gangs had fought violently in the country’s prisons and taken guards hostage. According to the prison administration, the head of the powerful gang “Los Choneros”, Adolfo Macías alias “Fito”, apparently managed to escape. This Tuesday, the authorities also reported the escape of another drug lord, Fabricio Colón Pico, one of the leaders of the “Los Lobos” gang.

Violence has increased dramatically in Ecuador in recent years. With around 25 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest values ​​in Latin America was recorded in 2022. Many of the overcrowded prisons are controlled by criminal organizations and fights between gangs often occur there.