Armed narcos storm Ecuadorian TV studio amidst kidnappings and explosions

By Javier Bolaños |
Armed narcos storming TV station in Ecuador
Armed narcos stormed TV station in Ecuador. | YouTube Screenshot

A group of drug traffickers, armed with rifles and grenades, interrupted a live broadcast on a TV station in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The incident occurred amid the kidnapping of at least seven police officers and a series of explosions, a day after President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency in the south American country.

"Please don't shoot, please don't shoot," a woman can be heard saying in the TV images, while other people sitting on the floor cover their faces. Later, some of the hooded individuals were seen leaving a recording studio with some of the staff.

Noboa, the son of one of the wealthiest men in the country, took office in November with the promise of stopping a wave of drug-related violence in the streets and prisons that has been escalating for years.

On Monday, the Ecuadorian government declared a 60-day state of emergency enabling military patrols, even in prisons, and imposing a national nighttime curfew.

The United States Embassy in Ecuador issued a security alert for its visiting or resident citizens in the country, urging them to take precautions against the wave of violence unleashed following the emergency declaration.

Ecuadorian evangelical churches have not been exempted from this wave of crimes and violence. Fabian Aguilar, the former mayoral candidate for the city of Machala, was shot and killed on Sunday morning at the entrance of a church. The businessman had attended the Pentecostal Evangelical Christian Mission with his family, parked his truck, and as he got out, individuals shot him in the head.

The Latin Evangelical Alliance (AEL) issued a statement on Wednesday in response to the violence in Ecuador, asking for prayers that God, in his endless mercy, will bring peace to that nation.

"At AEL we stand in solidarity with the Ecuadorian people in the wake of all the violent events that are unfolding, which triggered the declaration of a 'State of Emergency' by President Daniel Noboa," the statement from the evangelical organization states.

"As an Alliance we promote love, respect, justice, peace and the resolution of all conflict through dialogue, because violence is never the way." Finally, AEL calls for peace, for life and not for death, destruction, or violence.

Meanwhile, Aarón Lara, president of the Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family - an essentially evangelical entity - also asked for prayers and condemned the violence taking place in the South American country.

"We pray to God for the Republic of Ecuador so that anarchy and violence cease and peace and the rule of law return... These aggressions have been qualified as terrorism and it is clear the ethical and moral collapse of a group of people of the so-called organized crime that seeks to impose itself on the State to have license for evil", published Lara on social networks.