Ecuador: Mobsters take people hostage during live TV broadcast
Ecuador unrest: Masked mobsters take hostages in TV studio during live broadcast
A group of armed individuals broke into a television studio of TC Television channel in Ecuador during a live broadcast. TV presenters and guests were taken hostage, El Universo newspaper said.
President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency and curfew after a series of explosions, the kidnapping of four police officers and the escape of influential Los Choneros gang leader Adolfo Macias from prison.
The news about the escape of Macias, nicknamed Fito, became known on January 7. The police said the following day that four officers were kidnapped — one in the capital Quito and three in the city of Quevedo. Explosions occurred in Quito and several cities in the north of the country, including near the house of the head of the National Court.
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The President of Ecuador announced that the country was in a state of "internal armed conflict.”
- A SWAT team was sent to the TC Television studio where armed individuals took several people hostage. All hostages were released, no casualties were reported. The police said that all the attackers were detained.
- At least ten people, including two police officers, were killed in unrest in the cities of Guayaquil and Nobol. Military equipment was deployed to the centre of the capital Quito.
- Ecuadorian Army Chief Jaime Vela Eraso declared 22 criminal groups as military targets and ordered the army to neutralise them. The authorities of the country will not conduct negotiations with the gangs, he said.
- At least 139 people, including guards and prison officials, are being held hostage in five prisons in Ecuador. Los Lobos gang leader Fabricio Colon Pico also escaped from a prison in the city of Riobamba.
- No Russian citizen was hurt in the unrest in Ecuador, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The embassy recommended Russians should refrain from traveling through Ecuador. Russia officially condemned the attacks in Ecuador and expressed solidarity with the government of the country.
- The Peruvian authorities deployed special forces on the border with Ecuador. Argentina announced its readiness to send its security forces to help the Ecuadorian authorities. The United States also announced its readiness to provide assistance.