A live TV broadcast in Ecuador was interrupted on Tuesday when masked men with guns and explosives stormed the set.
The TC Television network was live-on-air when men armed with pistols and what looked like dynamite entered, shouting that they had bombs. The sound of gunshots were then heard but it is not clear if anyone on the set was injured. The public network is based in the port city of Guayaquil.
The president of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, has since declared that the country has entered an “internal armed conflict”.
This is the latest in a number of attacks that have rocked Ecuador following a powerful gang member’s escape from prison.
Noboa said on Monday (prior to the attacks) that he will declare a national state of emergency – a measure that means that authorities can suspend people’s rights and have the military in places like prisons.
Following the attack on the TV station he issued issued a decree which names 20 drug trafficking gangs operating in the country as terrorist groups. This means that the military is allowed to “neutralise” these groups within the pounds of international humanitarian law.
The national police chief announced that authorities had since arrested all 13 of the masked intruders and had seized the guns and explosives that the group had with them.
“This is an act that should be considered as a terrorist act,” Zapata said.
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