Ecuador prison riots: At least 20 killed in Ecuador prison riots



CNN

Ecuadorian authorities said Monday they are in “total control” of a jail in the south of the country after a riot broke out the day before, killing at least 20 prisoners.

Violence in Turi Prison, near the city of Cuenca, started early Sunday due to a leadership dispute among imprisoned members of a gang known as The Wolves, General Carlos Cabrera, the head of Ecuador’s national police force, told reporters at a news conference.

Cabrera said 19 of the victims were killed because of “acts of violence” and one was killed after ingesting a chemical substance. At least 11 others were injured, CNN reported.

Police and military are seen outside Turi prison on Monday.

Authorities are working to identify the bodies of the victims to inform their relatives, he added.

Five other prisoners were injured during the riot, authorities added.

Ecuador’s prison system has been in a state of emergency since the fatal clashes of September 2021, in which 118 people were killed in clashes involving automatic weapons and even grenades.

More than 300 prisoners were killed in prison violence in 2021, according to figures from Ecuador’s prison service SNAI.

Ecuador is a central transit point on the route that brings cocaine from South America to the United States and Asia, making it a breeding ground for gang clashes. In this escalating struggle for territorial control, prisons have become controversial battlefields.

Prisons are also chronically overcrowded. In July 2021, then-prison chief Eduardo Moncayo told local media that the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil was the most crowded in the country, with more than 9,000 inmates in a facility planned for 5,000.

In October, authorities said thousands of inmates, including the elderly, women and people with disabilities and deadly diseases, would be pardoned to free up space.

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