HomeLatin AmericaViolence Erupts in Ecuador as Masked Intruders Disrupt Live TV Broadcast

Violence Erupts in Ecuador as Masked Intruders Disrupt Live TV Broadcast

Violence Erupts in Ecuador as Masked Intruders Disrupt Live TV Broadcast

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador (AP) — It was a day like any other at the TC Television studio in Ecuador, with its mid-afternoon newscast underway, when masked gunmen burst in, unleashing at least 15 minutes of threats and fear — all broadcast live.

First, a man with a pistol appeared in the middle of the public TV station’s live transmission, followed by a second man with a shotgun, then a third and more. With the show’s “After the News” title behind them, station employees were brought onto the set and ordered to lie down. Screams could be heard followed by the sound of gunshots.

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“We are on air, so you know that you cannot play with the mafia,” one of the assailants is heard saying.

Masked men could be seen aiming guns at news staff. Someone said: “Don’t shoot!” After about 15 minutes the transmission was cut.

Live Broadcast Ambushed

A peaceful broadcast was abruptly disrupted when masked individuals forcefully entered the TV studio, causing panic and chaos. The motive behind the intrusion is yet to be determined, leaving the nation on edge.

The unprecedented assault on the TV station in Guayaquil, a port city in Ecuador, came hours after a series of other attacks and police officer abductions. It also followed the apparent escapes from prison of two of the leaders of the country’s most powerful gangs.

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Staff members sit on a street after they were evacuated from TC Television channel station ater a group of armed men broke onto their set during a live broadcast, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Tuesday, Jan.9,2024. Photo : Cesar Munoz/AP

No one was killed in Tuesday’s attack and authorities say the 13 attackers were arrested and would be charged with terrorism. President Daniel Noboa, who came into power in November with a promise to bring peace to the South American country, issued a decree saying the violence-plagued country had entered an “internal armed conflict,” in what some analysts see as a watershed moment for Ecuador.

Late Tuesday, Noboa met with his security Cabinet and, afterward, the head of the Armed Forces Joint Command said the attacks were the gangs’ reactions to the government’s moves against them.


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