Ecuador’s Number One Criminal Escaped From Prison, And Now The Country Has Descended Into Complete Chaos

Ecuador has declared an internal armed conflict after gang leader Adolfo “Fito” Macías escaped prison, sparking riots and violence around the country.

Ecuador’s Number One Criminal Escaped From Prison, And Now The Country Has Descended Into Complete Chaos

Ecuador’s most wanted criminal disappeared from prison, gunmen then took a TV station’s staff hostage, triggering a national state of emergency and an internal armed conflict.

On Sunday Jan. 7, Ecuadorian police reported that Adolfo Macías, the leader of a drug cartel, had “disappeared” from his prison cell on the day he was supposed to be transferred to a maximum security prison.

Adolfo Macías fito ecuador escape prison gang

Also known as “Fito”, Macías is considered the country’s “most wanted” criminal and had been serving a 34-year prison sentence for drug trafficking, murder and other crimes since 2011.

A day after his alleged escape, riots broke out in at least six prisons, with some inmates taking guards as hostages.

Inmates Turi prison Ecuador
Inmates remain on the roof of the Turi prison, where prison guards are been held hostage, in Cuenca, Ecuador. (Photo by FERNANDO MACHADO / AFP)

At the same time, a series of attacks hit the capital Quito and Guayaquil, as people reported shooting, looting and car bomb explosions.

This prompted Ecuadorian president Daniel Noboa to declare a 60-day state of emergency.

The state of emergency included a nationwide curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a total of 60 days.

“The times when convicted drug traffickers, hitmen and organized crime dictate to the government what to do is over,” Noboa said in his statement.

He said the riots in prisons had broken out after the government retook control of the facilities but did not address Macías escape.

The violence in Ecuador gained further international attention after a video of gunmen, storming a live TV broadcast in Guayaquil and held the staff hostage on air on Tuesday Jan. 9, spread online.

“Tell the police to leave,” one of the gunmen is heard saying during the TC Television broadcast as they took the staff hostage.

After two hours, police rescued the hostages without any casualties and detained 13 suspects.

As the hostage situation was unraveling, Noboa announced that the country was now in an “internal armed conflict” with 22 gangs including Macías’ cartel Los Choneros.

The government said that the gangs had been classified as “terrorist groups” and are “military targets”.

The same day, another major gang leader also escaped prison.

Authorities said five hospitals were attacked, and at least eight people have since been killed in the violence, according to the New York Times.

Ecuador’s ministry of education announced classes will go online until Jan. 12 and told staff and teachers to work online following the attacks.

Other government agencies and businesses have also asked staff to remain at home.

Peru has also declared an emergency along the border with Ecuador out of fears of the violence spreading.

Authorities are still searching for Macias and determining if the attacks are coordinated, but are warning people of spreading fake news to prevent mass panic.

Gang violence has spiked in Ecuador in recent years, with the murder rate quadrupling in the last 5 years, due to a rise in drug trafficking

Investigations Police car bomb attack Ecuador
Members of the Investigations Police inspect the scene of a car bomb attack at the Pascuales bus terminal in Guayaquil, Ecuador on November 1, 2022. (Photo by MARCOS PIN/AFP via Getty Images)

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