The Lead Up:
On Monday, Ecuador President Daniel Noboa declared a nationwide state of emergency and mobilized the country’s military to patrol prisons and the streets after notorious Los Choneros gang leader Jose “Fito” Macias escaped from a prison in Guayaquil.
Cuenca, Reos amenazan con armas y cuchillos a guías penitenciarios de la cárcel el Turi tras varias horas de estar retenidos pic.twitter.com/SnE7gLdWol
— We News (@wenewsec) January 9, 2024
Following the escape and seemingly in response to the military mobilization, riots broke out in prisons in El Oro, Loja, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Azuay and Pichincha, where guards were taken hostages by prisoners. Likewise, attacks and kidnappings against police were reported in several areas.
In one statement, a gang member holding officers hostage warned “You declared a state of emergency. We declare police, civilians and soldiers to be the spoils of war.”
VÍDEO: homens armados invadem estúdio de TV no Equador; país vive caos após criminoso fugir de prisão e presidente decretar estado de exceção Homens armados e com os rostos escondidos invadiram os estúdios do canal de TV estatal TC Televisión, da cidade de Guayaquil, no Equador. pic.twitter.com/Ux3rgtsLES
— Tá na Rede News (@TaNaRedeNews) January 9, 2024
On Tuesday, armed gunmen stormed the studio of Ecuadorian television station TC during a live broadcast and took hostages. The gunmen could be seen pointing weapons at the news hosts and set crew. Ecuadorian authorities eventually raided the building, detaining the gunmen and freeing the hostages. At the same time, gunmen were reported on the University of Guayaquil campus, prompting crowds to flee the area.
Declaration of War:
Meanwhile, Noboa issued a presidential decree that recognized “the existence of an internal armed conflict” and effectively declared war against several gangs, which are now classified as terrorist organizations.
A LA NACIÓN:
El presidente Daniel Noboa Azin firmó el decreto ejecutivo declarando Conflicto Armado Interno e identificó a los siguientes grupos del crimen organizado transnacional como organizaciones terroristas y actores no estatales beligerantes: Águilas, ÁguilasKiller, Ak47,… pic.twitter.com/VWCmaBhhy3
— Presidencia Ecuador ?? (@Presidencia_Ec) January 9, 2024
The decree also set forth to “Provide the mobilization and intervention of the Armed Forces and National Police in the national territory to guarantee sovereignty and territorial integrity against transnational organized crime, terrorist organizations and belligerent non-state actors…”
Likewise, the decree identified the following transnational organized crime groups “as terrorist organizations and belligerent non-state actors:” Aguilas, AguilasKiller, Ak47, Caballeros Oscuros, ChoneKiller, Choneros, Corvicheros, Cartel de las Feas, Cubanos, Fatales, Ganster, Kater Piler, Lagartos, Latin Kings, Lobos, Los p.27, Los Tiburones, Mafia 18, Mafia Trébol, Patrones, R7, Tiguerones.
?? Mais uma execução de guarda penitenciário no Equador. O discurso é bem parecido com o do vídeo que legendei abaixo. Cortei o final porque as imagens são muito fortes.
— Tarciso Morais (@TarcisoRenova) January 9, 2024
On Tuesday, various videos emerged online showing the executions of Ecuadorian prison guards by prisoners, either by shooting or hanging. The uniforms being worn by the guards in the videos match that of guards being held hostage in previous videos. So far this has not been confirmed by Ecuadorian authorities and the location of the footage remains unknown.