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Horror as gunmen storm live TV broadcast

Ecuador, a nation once known for its relative peace, finds itself embroiled in a terrifying escalation of gang violence. This turmoil comes just days after the inauguration of President Daniel Noboa, who vowed to tackle the country’s rampant drug-related crime.

The tipping point arrived on Tuesday when armed men stormed the live broadcast of TC Television in Guayaquil, the country’s port city. Gunshots echoed through the studio as terrified staff were forced to the ground. The chilling scene unfolded shortly after powerful gangs declared “war” on Noboa’s plans to reclaim control from “narcoterrorists.”

This brazen attack wasn’t an isolated incident. Earlier that day, gangsters had kidnapped police officers and detonated explosives in various cities, a direct response to Noboa’s declaration of a 60-day state of emergency and nighttime curfew. These measures were implemented following the escape of a notorious gang leader, Jose Adolfo Macias, nicknamed “Fito.”

Macias, serving a hefty sentence for organized crime, drug trafficking, and murder, is believed to have been tipped off about an impending prison inspection. His escape sparked outrage and a series of prison uprisings across the country. Guards were taken hostage, and the violence intensified.

Social media was flooded with a disturbing video showcasing the power dynamic shift. Three kidnapped officers were forced to read a chilling statement addressed to Noboa. Declaring war on the President, the statement threatened police, civilians, and soldiers, transforming them into “spoils of war” and imposing a deadly curfew on anyone found on the streets after 11 pm.

The response from the government was swift. Heavily armed police and soldiers descended upon Ecuador’s prisons, regaining control and rounding up inmates. A manhunt for Macias and Fabricio Colon Pico, another escaped gang leader, intensified.

This escalating violence marks a tragic new chapter for Ecuador. Long considered a peaceful haven nestled between major cocaine exporters Colombia and Peru, the country has seen drug-related violence explode in recent years. Rival gangs, fueled by ties to Mexican and Colombian cartels, are locked in a brutal struggle for control.

The human cost of this conflict is devastating. The murder rate has skyrocketed, with 2022 being the most violent year on record. Since 2021, prison clashes have left hundreds dead, many in horrific acts of beheading or burning.

President Noboa’s vow to “return peace to all Ecuadorians” seems like a distant hope amidst the current chaos. Whether he can succeed in quelling the violence and dismantling the powerful gangs remains to be seen. The attack on live television serves as a grim reminder of the pervasiveness of drug-related crime and the fragility of peace in Ecuador.


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