At least 62 prisoners were killed on Tuesday, and several were injured in riots accusing gangs of competition in three prisons in Ecuador’s overcrowded prison system, officials said.
When security forces fought to regain control, the distraught family was desperately waiting for news outside the prison in Guayaquil, a port city in western Ecuador. Authorities said there were 21 deaths.
An additional 33 died in a prison in Cuenca in the south and eight in a prison in Latacunga in central South America, according to Edmund Moncayo, head of the government’s SNAI prison administration.
“We want us to give us a list of deaths,” said Daniela Soria, 29, one of about 40 women outside Guayaquil prison. Many of them are weeping.
“We know the problem isn’t over because everyone there has a phone and my husband doesn’t call me,” she told AFP.
Earlier, she received a WhatsApp voice message from her husband Ricardo and played it on AFP. “They’re going to kill me, get me out of here!” The last thing she heard from him was to hear him screaming.
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno has attributed the riots to “criminal gangs” engaged in “simultaneous violence in several prisons” on Twitter.
Authorities are “acting to regain control,” he said.
Armies were deployed to help police subdue the riots.
Prosecutors said several prisoners remained injured in fighting between “criminal gangs,” including two in a serious condition in Guayaquil.
Several police were also injured, but no guards were reported dead, according to Moncayo.
Police commander Patricio Carrillo described the situation as “critical,” and Interior Minister Patricio Pasmino described it as “centralized command by criminal organizations to create violence in prisons.” Created a place.
Prison officials described the fierce battle between organized gangs, known by names such as Los Pipos, Los Lobos, and Tigrones. They rely on drug trafficking and run criminal enterprises from prison.
Moncayo told reporters on Monday that guards had seized two guns that were to be used to kill the leader of a group imprisoned in Guayaquil.
“The interior is like a market. There are drugs, weapons, puppies, everything. Everything is for sale,” said Soria, the wife of prisoner Ricardo.
To reduce the number of prisoners in the coronavirus epidemic, the government commuted those convicted of minor crimes and reduced overcrowding from 42 percent to 30 percent.
It still retains the Ecuadorian prison system, capable of accommodating 29,000 prisoners in more than 60 facilities, with a prisoner population of 38,000.
There are 1,500 guards overseeing them.
SNAI said the shortage of personnel “prevents immediate response” to the prisoner’s rebellion.
According to police statistics, 51 people were killed in a prison dispute last year.
A 90-day state of emergency in a national prison was ordered by Moreno last year to curb gang activity and reduce violence.
However, just in December, prison insecurity killed 11 prisoners and injured seven.
The riots on Tuesday coincided with a march in Quito where hundreds of indigenous people demanded a recount of votes after candidates were left behind in the cold in the first round of this month’s presidential election.
At Least 62 Inmates Dead In Ecuador Prison Riots Source link At Least 62 Inmates Dead In Ecuador Prison Riots