GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador – A terrifying incident unfolded on Tuesday when an armed militia stormed a television studio in the city of Guayaquil during a live broadcast. The gunmen, armed with shotguns, pistols, and homemade bombs, took control of the television station TC, forcing staff onto the floor and shocking viewers who watched the events unfold on live television.
The masked attackers, showing off grenades and sticks of dynamite, held the terrified host at gunpoint while he prayed to the camera. The group shouted threats and claimed to have bombs, as the sound of gunshots rang in the background. The ordeal unfolded before the feed was abruptly cut off.
Local newspaper El Universo reported that journalists from the interrupted news program, El noticiero, sent desperate messages begging for help.
Police in Guayaquil swiftly responded to the situation, surrounding the building. Some of the assailants attempted to hide elsewhere in the premises, but the police apprehended them. In total, 13 arrests were made, and images shared on social media showed the suspects lying on the floor with their hands tied behind their backs.
The motive behind the attack remains unclear, but it comes in the wake of President Daniel Noboa declaring a state of emergency in response to a series of explosions and the kidnapping of several police officers. Armed factions have also been reported entering other locations in Guayaquil, such as Maldonado Hospital and the University of Guayaquil.
Authorities, including the Ecuador Police, have confirmed that the hostages have been released.