Ecuador: Gang riot at prison leaves 24 dead, 48 injured
A riot in a penitentiary in the coastal city of Guayaquil killed 24 inmates and injured 48 more on Tuesday, Ecuadorian officials said. A police and military operation managed to regain control of Guayaquil Regional prison after five hours, according to Ecuador's prison service. The violence involved gunfire, knives, and explosions and was caused between Los Lobos and Los Choneros prison gangs, officials said.
Here is how the violence started
According to The Washington Post, the violence began at 9:00 am on Tuesday, as both the gangs exchanged gunfire to control one of the main units of Guayaquil Regional prison. Police entered the facility at 10:40 am and evacuated prison personnel including six cooks. They were able to gain control of the facility at 2:00 pm.
Television images showed inmates firing, detonation of firearms, explosives
Guayas state Gov Pablo Arosemena said that the order had been restored. "The presence of the state and the law must be felt," he added. Television images showed inmates firing from the windows of the prison amid smoke and the detonation of firearms and explosives. The Guayas state government posted images on Twitter showing the cooks being evacuated from one of the prison's wings.
Funding to be provided to upscale security in prisons: President
Notably, according to Reuters in August, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso has said that more funding will be provided by the government to build new wards in overcrowded prisons and for the installation of new equipment to upscale security in prisons.
Ecuador witnessed bloodiest prison violence in February
Notably, Tuesday's violence came eight months after Ecuador witnessed the bloodiest prison violence in February in three prisons of the country which left 79 inmates dead. According to media reports, the death of a leader of the Los Choneros gang had prompted the violence. Notably, Los Choneros is a prominent gang that controls drug trafficking between Ecuador and Colombia.
Lasso decreed state of emergency in prison system in July
Meanwhile, in July, 22 more prisoners lost their lives after violence broke out in two prisons of the country including the Guayaquil's Litoral penitentiary, while in September a penitentiary center was attacked by drones leaving no fatalities. In July, President Lasso decreed a state of emergency in Ecuador's prison system following several violent episodes that resulted in more than 100 inmates being killed.