Gangsters who stormed an Ecuador TV station with guns and grenades have been humbled by police.
The group of men stormed the TC Television network in Ecuador on Tuesday, taking journalists hostage and brandishing weapons at the television cameras which were still broadcasting live.
The hijacking took place after the leader of a notorious gang, Adolfo ‘Fito’ Macías, escaped from his prison cell on Sunday, causing Ecuador’s president to declare a state of emergency.
A second gang leader, Los Lobos’s Fabricio Colon Pico, also escaped custody on Tuesday having been arrested for alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate Ecuador’s attorney general.
The South American country has erupted into a ‘civil war’, with armed police and soldiers patrolling the streets as criminals rampaged. A university was attacked and prison guards have been reportedly executed by prisoners.
Now, 13 of the gangsters arrested for their part in the TV studio hijacking have been well and truly humbled by Ecuadorian police.
Police arrived at the studio about half an hour after the incident began and say they arrested everyone involved in the attack.
The suspects all had their masks, hoods and shoes removed and were pictured sat on steps while handcuffed and surrounded by armed police, some with riot shields.
They weren’t looking so cocky following their arrest, many sat with their heads bowed or between their knees.
President Daniel Noboa declared 20 drug trafficking gangs operating in the country as terrorist groups and authorised Ecuador’s military to ‘neutralise’ the groups – within the bounds of international humanitarian law.
The wave of criminal activity was sparked after gangsters vowed a ‘war’ against the president’s plans to reclaim control from ‘narcoterrorists.’
Macías, the leader of Los Choneros gang, was found missing the same day he was supposed to be transferred from a low security to maximum security facility.
His and Pico’s escapes have sparked explosions and the abduction of several police officers.
The British Foreign Office has warned against all but essential travel to parts of the country.
Peru has also declared a state of emergency along its northern border with Ecuador due to the ongoing violence.
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