Territorial disputes Between Rival narcotics gangs Leaves 68 Dead in Ecuador prison
Territorial disputes have left 68 prisoners dead and 25 others badly injured in an Ecuador prison, police said on Saturday. This latest unrest at a Guayaquil jail that was the scene of a September riot which killed 119 prisoners.
The riots reportedly began at around 7:00 pm Friday (0000 GMT). Prisoners were forcefully trying to enter a section of the jail, firing gunshots and using explosives. In response, police moved in to contain the unrest.
“These events are the result of a territorial dispute between criminal gangs inside the penitentiary,” Police commander General Tannya Varela said.
Earlier reports had indicated that 58 people were killed. Recent information reaching our editorial desk however puts the figure at 68 with 25 others badly injured.
An intervention by police to try and reestablish order “saved lives.” Pablo Arosemena, governor of the province of Guayas, whose capital city is Guayaquil told journalists.
He further condemned “the level of savagery, the level of inhumanity” on the part of the inmates who took part in the attack.
Police officers in riot gear were seen climbing up the blood-stained prison walls. Furthermore, body of inmate in an orange prison jumpsuit lay on the roof of the jail encircled by barbed wire.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered outside the prison gates weeping uncontrollably while trying to enquire the date of their relatives.
Several disturbing images whose authenticity hasn't been confirmed have Don rounds on social media platforms. In the images, there's a pile of lifeless bodies in a night-time prison courtyard being consumed by flames. Inmates standing nearby also beat the bodies with sticks and sharp objects.
Territorial disputes between drug gangs
This year alone, more than 300 prisoners have died in Ecuador's criminal detention system. Thousands of inmates tied to drug gangs square off in violent clashes that often lead to deadly riots.
September's unrest for example, became one of the worst prison massacres in world history.
The latest deadly violence in Guayaquil only reaffirmed the broken state of Ecuador’s jails.
Rival narcotics gangs have been waging a bloody feud in the Guayas 1 Prison. The facility had initially been designed for 5,300 inmates. It however houses 8,500, that's 60 percent more than it's carrying capacity.
There had initially been a crackdown after the September 28 tragedy that lead to the death of over 119 Prisoners. The unrest has however persisted with at least 15 more inmates dying prior to Friday’s deadly burst of violence.
Two weeks after the September disaster the country’s president, Guillermo Lasso, declared a 60-day state of emergency. He did this in a bid to tame Ecuador’s surging drug-related unrest.
He also named a new defense minister in part to address the massive prisons crisis.
Violence has however, spiked dramatically in recent months in Ecuador, whose economy is ailing. Between January and October this year, the country registered almost 1,900 homicides. This is even much compared to about 1,400 in all of 2020, according to the government.
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