More than 100 dead as a deadly prison riot between two gangs wreaks havoc in Ecuador

Relatives of inmates wait for news outside the penitentiary waiting for news on their loved ones. Photo / AP

In what police are calling the greatest prison massacre in Ecuador's history, gangs battled in prison in the coastal city of Guayaquil, killing at least 100 inmates and injuring 52 more. Officials announced on Wednesday that at least five people had been beheaded.

President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency in Ecuador's prison system. The authorities blamed the Guayas prison's bloodshed on gangs tied to international drug cartels fighting for control of the facility.

"As of the moment more than 100 dead and 52 injured have been confirmed," the prisons bureau said in a tweet, referring to the violence on Tuesday, which involved guns, knives, and bombs.

"It's a tragedy," prisons bureau head Bolivar Garzon told radio FMundo, "that fighting among bands, criminal groups seeking internal control reaches these levels."

Ecuador's communication ministry said that the president would hold a press conference to declare the specifics of the state of emergency.

"In the history of the country, there has not been an incident similar or even close to this one," said Ledy Zuniga, former head of Ecuador's National Rehabilitation Council.

Following horrific jail riots last February, Zuniga, the country's minister of justice, expressed sadness that no efforts had been made to avert another slaughter.

Several images circulating on social media showed scores of bodies in Pavilions 9 and 10 of the Guayas prison. The wails of relatives of detainees waiting outside, along with armored cars, soldiers, and ambulances, echoed the horrible images from within the prison.

The death toll had been put at 30 earlier in the day, but regional police commander Fausto Buenano stated that remains discovered in the prison's pipelines were still being identified.

Officials say regaining control of the institution took five hours on Tuesday. According to officials, gunshots, knives, and explosions erupted from a feud between the "Los Lobos" and "Los Choneros" prison gangs.

According to Col. Mario Pazmino, former director of Ecuador's military intelligence, the brutal combat reveals that "transnational organized crime has permeated the structure" of Ecuador's jails, adding that the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels in Mexico operate through local gangs.

He told the Associated Press on Wednesday, after officials confirmed five decapitations, that "They want to sow fear,"

Following multiple violent instances in which more than 100 convicts were slain, Ecuador's president declared another state of emergency in the prison system in July. Those who died did so in various prisons, not just one, as in Tuesday's atrocity.

Previously, the bloodiest day was in February, when 79 detainees died in three prisons throughout the country in simultaneous disturbances. On July, 22 more inmates were killed in the Litoral Prison, while a penitentiary center was targeted by drones in September, although no one was killed.

Publish : 2021-09-30 06:39:00

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