Politics

Ecuador prison riot leaves more than 50 inmates dead

Ferocious clashes have left 58 inmates dead in an Ecuador prison, police said Saturday, in the latest unrest at a Guayaquil jail that was the scene of a September riot which killed 119 prisone

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A bloody clash at an Ecuador prison left 68 inmates dead and another 25 injured as officials struggled to gain control of a system plagued by drug violence.

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The riot stemmed from traffickers working to reassert control after the early release of a drug lord earlier this week, national police head Tannya Varela said at a press conference.

“We’re bringing more police reinforcements to the city of Guayaquil to have them at the penitentiary” in case of any more violence, Varela said. There’s an additional 700 officers at the site, on top of 300 already there, she said.

Police entered the compound and found a rifle, explosives and two pistols, according to local newspaper El Universo.

Ecuador’s prison system remains in a state of emergency as authorities struggle to control a deadly wave of violence. This is the fourth time this year inmates have been killed in chaotic prison clashes. President Guillermo Lasso declared the system in a state of emergency after a riot at the same Guayaquil penitentiary claimed the lives of more than 100 prisoners in late September.

Family members react as they stand outside the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison where prisoners were killed and injured in overnight violence, in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Nov. 13, 2021.
Family members react as they stand outside the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison where prisoners were killed and injured in overnight violence, in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Nov. 13, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Vicente Gaibor del Pino

Authorities have attributed the violence to clashes among gangs fighting for drug business. The government says it has a plan for prisons and considers drug trafficking the biggest internal threat but it will take time and perseverance to fix.

Lasso said in a tweet the violence was a wake-up call for Ecuador’s institutions, especially the Constitutional Court.

A relative of an inmate cries as she waits for news about her loved one after 58 convicts were killed in a riot at the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on November 13, 2021. FERNANDO MENDEZ/AFP via Getty
A relative of an inmate cries as she waits for news about her loved one after 58 convicts were killed in a riot at the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on November 13, 2021. FERNANDO MENDEZ/AFP via Getty

“We need suitable constitutional tools to protect the population, regain order in prisons and fight the mafias that profit from chaos,” he said.



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