A live television studio in Ecuador was stormed by masked gunmen who threatened the horrified staff.
In the city of Guayaquil, employees were compelled to descend to the ground during the live broadcast by the public television channel TC prior to the interruption of the transmission.
Police claim they subsequently released the entire staff, made thirteen arrests, and displayed recovered weapons.
Since a sixty-day state of emergency was declared in Ecuador on Monday, a minimum of ten people have died.
Following the disappearance of a notorious criminal from his prison cell, an emergency was declared. The connection between the occurrence at the television studio in Guayaquil and the presumed disappearance of Adolfo Macías Villamar, better known as Fito, from a prison in the same city remains uncertain.
The government of neighbouring Peru issued an order for the urgent deployment of a police force to the border in an effort to prevent any instability from entering the country.
The United States stated that it "firmly opposes" the "blatant assaults" that occurred in Ecuador and is "closely coordinating" with President Daniel Noboa and the government of Ecuador, adding that it is "prepared to offer assistance."
A pump-action shotgun was pointed at the head of one of the detainees during Tuesday's assault on the television station; the individual was additionally threatened with a revolver.
A woman was overheard pleading, "Please, don't shoot," according to thesources and an individual could be heard screaming in evident agony.
Police announced the apprehension of the suspects via social media and stated that they would be "punished for terrorist activities."
President Noboa declared on Tuesday that the country was currently embroiled in a "internal armed conflict" and that he was mobilising the armed forces to conduct "military operations to neutralise" "transnational organised crime, terrorist organisations, and belligerent non-state actors," according to the president.
The directive expanded upon the state of emergency that was declared on Monday, mandating a nocturnal curfew as a preventive measure against violence subsequent to Fito's escape. Security forces have been attempting to restore order in at least six correctional facilities since Monday, when unrest erupted.
Police reported that two officers were murdered by "armed criminals" in the neighbouring town of Nobol on Tuesday. Attacks associated with criminal organisations in Guayaquil claimed the lives of eight individuals and injured three others.
Due to security concerns, the police have ordered the evacuation of the government compound in Quito. Locals in Quito informed Reuters that the city has been in disarray ever since the news of the attack at the Guayaquil television station spread.
In recent times, violent disputes among incarcerated members of rival groups have plagued the nation's prisons, frequently culminating in numerous massacres of inmates.
Precisely because of the Choneros, a formidable prison gang, numerous fatal riots and prison brawls that have recently erupted in Ecuador's correctional facilities have been attributed.
Fito allegedly escaped mere hours prior to his scheduled transfer. Two prison personnel have been arrested on suspicion that they assisted in his escape.
His departure also deals a setback to the administration of President Noboa, who assumed office in November following an election marred by the demise of journalist and presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. Villavicencio had apprised Fito of death threats mere days prior to his fatal shooting from a Quito campaign rally.