Gunmen Storm Live TV Broadcast, Take Hostages In Ecuador

A scary situation unfolded in Ecuador Tuesday night when gunmen stormed into a TV studio while a live broadcast was going on and took people hostage.

The live feed broadcast the men, all wearing black clothing and balaclavas, screaming “no police!” toward the cameras. They also fired gunshots before the TV studio abruptly ended the feed.

Police said they were later able to bring things under control, announcing that 13 of the men who were involved in the incident were arrested. The ordeal happened in the city of Guayaquil.

Ecuador’s president, 35-year-old Daniel Noboa, on Tuesday, issued a new decree stating that the country was now entering an “internal armed conflict.”

The Associated Press reported that all 13 men who were arrested would be facing terrorism charges. Luckily, no one was killed during the attack.

While a live news program was airing in thousands of households throughout Ecuador from the TC Television studio, the men broke onto the set, armed with guns and what appeared to be dynamite.

Ecuadorian officials haven’t yet announced who they believe was behind the occupation of the TV station, or who was responsible for the recent series of attacks that have happened in the country.

All of this occurred not long after two high-ranking leaders in powerful drug gangs in Ecuador apparently escaped from jail.

“I am still in shock,” Alina Manrique, TC Television’s head of news, told the AP. “Everything has collapsed … All I know is that it’s time to leave this country and go very far away.”

Manrique was in TC Television’s control room while the men stormed into the studio. One of the suspects demanded she get on the floor and pointed a gun toward her head.

Noboa declared a state of emergency for Ecuador on Monday, which allowed authorities to suspend the rights of individuals and mobilize military personnel in some places such as prisons.

The new decree he issued Tuesday following the TV station attack designated 20 different drug gangs that operate in Ecuador as terrorist groups. In doing so, the country’s military was given the power to “neutralize” these gangs, as long as they operated within the confines of international law.