Christians are being urged to pray for Ecuador following a surge in gang violence.
The South American country is in turmoil as the nation’s most-wanted prisoner, Adolfo Macías, leader of the Los Choneros narco-criminal gang, escaped from a prison in the nation's second-largest city.
This jailbreak triggered uprisings in several other prisons, leading to violence and clashes between rival gangs. The situation escalated further on Tuesday when masked gunmen seized a live television studio in Guayaquil, resulting in hostage situations and gunfire exchanges with the police.
The chaos extended beyond the city, with reports of explosions, burning vehicles, looting, and assaults on hospitals in various locations, including the capital, Quito.
Additionally, authorities revealed that a second major gang leader and other inmates have escaped from another prison.
The unrest follows a series of violent incidents in Ecuadorian prisons, where clashes between rival gangs have claimed over 400 lives since 2021.
In response to recent events, the Ecuadorian Bishops’ Conference issued a statement titled "Violence will not prevail."
They called on citizens not to panic and urged everyone to remain united “with an eye towards the future and with the strength necessary to make Ecuador what it has always been: a place of peace, work, and fraternity.”
“We are a country of faith. Ever since we were children, we have been taught that we are all brothers, calling God our Father," they said.
The bishops concluded by expressing their prayers for "the integrity of every good Ecuadorian and the stability of the State as a guarantee for peace to return to the country as soon as possible.”