Ecuador Shaken by Days of Terror After Gang Leader’s Disappearance

Ecuador Shaken by Days of Terror After Gang Leader’s Disappearance

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Ecuadoreans Split on President’s Drastic New Measure to Combat Drug Gangs

Vowing to bring peace back to a shattered country, President Daniel Noboa has deployed the military to take on what he calls “terrorist” groups.

The police detained on Wednesday in Guayaquil, Ecuador, men they said had been part of an armed group that temporarily took over a TV broadcast.Credit…Carlos Duran Araujo/EPA, via ShutterstockPublished Jan. 10, 2024Updated Jan. 11, 2024, 1:29 a.m. ET

A sense of dread took hold in Ecuador on Wednesday, with the streets empty, schools closed and many people afraid to leave their homes after the disappearance of two gang leaders set off prison riots, police kidnappings and the on-air storming of a TV station.

Even for a country accustomed to violence, the events that have rocked Ecuador this week were shocking.

“I feel like the world I knew before is gone,” said María Ortega, a schoolteacher in Guayaquil, a sprawling coastal city. “You can know how things start, but not how they’ll end.”

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Chaos has consumed Ecuador after gang leaders escaped prisons and armed men commandeered a live TV broadcast.CreditCredit…Karen Toro/ReutersThank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.

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