Number of inmates dead in Ecuador prison riots rises to 79

The number of inmates who have died in riots at multiple prisons in Ecuador this week has increased to 79 after authorities regained control of the facilities in three cities

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 24 February 2021 15:40
APTOPIX Ecuador Jail Riots
APTOPIX Ecuador Jail Riots
Leer en Español

The number of inmates who have died in riots at multiple prisons in Ecuador this week increased to 79 on Wednesday after authorities regained control of the facilities in three cities.

Hundreds of police officers and military personnel converged on the prisons after apparently coordinated fights broke out in the maximum security wings as rival gangs fought for leadership within the detention centers. Authorities have said the clashes that began Monday night were precipitated by a search for weapons carried out at the facilities in the South American nation.

The national agency responsible for the prisons said 37 inmates died in the Pacific coast city of Guayaquil, 34 in the southern city of Cuenca and eight in the central city of Latacunga. Some 70% of the country’s prison population lives in the centers where the unrest occurred.

On Tuesday, television footage showed some prisoners jumping from high walls and others forcing open prison doors, but police and the military stopped them. Photographs and videos on social media show alleged inmates who had been decapitated and dismembered amid pools of blood.

Prisons Director Edmundo Moncayo said Tuesday that two groups were trying to gain “criminal leadership within the detention centers.”

The prisons’ maximum security areas tend to house inmates linked to killings, drug trafficking, extortion and other major crimes.

Deadly prison riots have happened relatively frequently in recent years in Ecuador, whose prisons were designed for some 27,000 inmates but house about 38,000.

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