Ecuadorian Gunmen Take Over TV Studio During Live Broadcast

A television studio and its viewers in Ecuador got the shock of their lives when gunmen abruptly entered during a live broadcast on Tuesday.

TC Television was airing live in Guayaquil when several men wearing balaclavas and mostly dressed in black stormed in, waving guns and ordering the staff to get on the ground.

The ordeal was broadcast for about 20 minutes, allowing viewers to see the terrifying situation as it played out.

“Thank God, we are alive, because it was an extremely violent attack,” said Jorge Rendon, deputy director of the news program that was interrupted.

There were reports of some of the staff being injured, but police have yet to confirm those details.

“We were in a meeting and they alerted us and we were able to hide,” said Flores. “We don’t know what is happening, people are nervous, there are many colleagues… who are hiding.”

Police were able to regain control, arresting the men, who were forced to their knees and hands zip-tied behind their backs.

National Police Commander César Zapata reported recovering at least four firearms, two grenades, and “explosive material” and apprehended 13 people and said that the assailants will be brought to justice for “acts of terrorism.”

Ecuador has been plagued by violence and gangs. Several prison guards have been killed, at least seven police officers kidnapped, and several explosions were reported, according to Reuters.

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa announced a 60-day state of emergency on Monday, keeping up on his promise back in November to crack down on the violence seen throughout the country.

“The time is over when drug trafficking convicts, hitmen, and organized crime dictate to the government what to do,” he said.

As part of the emergency order, there is a nationwide curfew in effect from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit any actions that may threaten public order, according to CNN.

Noboa declared on Tuesday that Ecuador was in an “internal armed conflict” and ordered the military to “neutralize” any armed groups identified as terrorists.

As of Wednesday morning, At least 70 people have been arrested across the country, with police confiscating eight explosive devices, 15 Molotov cocktails, nine firearms, 308 firearm cartridges, six motorcycles, and six vehicles.