Terrified Britons trapped in Ecuador started screaming as shooting and cartel ‘civil war’ broke out

Terrified Britons trapped in Ecuador started screaming as shooting and cartel ‘civil war’ broke out

WATCH: Gunmen entered a TV studio in Ecuador amid civil unrest

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 11/01/2024

- 14:04

Updated: 11/01/2024

- 14:13

It comes amid unrest over President Daniel Noboa's efforts to tackle cocaine trafficking

A British couple in Ecuador were left terrified after being caught in the breakout of a civil war.

Glenn Beachell, 64, was having lunch with his partner Magdalena Lopuszanska, 52, in capital Quito on Tuesday when SWAT teams and soldiers piled onto the streets.

The pair have since been forced to shell out for an expensive plane ticket into neighbouring Colombia.

It is believed the conflict is in response to President Daniel Noboa's efforts to tackle cocaine trafficking, in particular by putting gang leaders in new high-security prisons.

A security checkpoint

Security forces members man a checkpoint amid the ongoing wave of violence around the nation, in Guayaquil, Ecuador


Beachell told the Daily Mail: "We heard gunfire and all the locals started running and screaming. As we came out [of the restaurant], the SWAT teams were there.

"The police came and told the hotel to close up the doors and imposed a 5pm curfew. People need to know what's happening on the ground. There's too much lighthearted-ness. It's remarkable.

"I hope everyone can get back to their normal lives but I don't think that's going to happen.

"You have a lot of people saying it's safe but you have to get out of [the city]. It's a long way through open country. It isn't fine."


Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa

Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa has said the country is at war


The Ecuadorian government has declared a state of emergency amid the conflict.

President Noboa said: "We are at war and we cannot cede in the face of these terrorist groups."

On Tuesday, balaclava-clad gunmen with grenades and dynamite briefly took over the TC broadcaster in the Pacific Ocean port city of Guayaquil during a news program, before police arrested them and freed the media staff.

Journalist Jose Luis Calderon, 47 said: "It was surreal. The individuals shot their guns, I think in reaction to the police, and they shot a door and one of the bullets ricocheted and injured the leg of a cameraman."

A gunman pointing a gun at a tv presenter

A hooded man points a gun at Ecuadorian TV presenter Jose Luis Calderon while on air inside Ecuador's TC television station


Beachell added that they were lucky to have been able to book on their flight out.

He added: "It was chaos. There's so much uncertainty. I'm not an alarmist but it's best to be out of the hotpot. I wouldn't advise anyone to come here. There are no shops open. Everything is caged up.

"It's such a wonderful country held hostage to idiots with guns."

GB News has approached the Foreign Office and the British Embassy in Quito for a comment.

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