At least 75 inmates have been killed during prison riots in three Ecuadorian cities, with the violence prompted by fights between rival gangs and an escape attempt.
- Prison officials managed to evacuate during the riots
- The government said police officers had been injured but gave no further details
- Deadly prison riots have happened relatively frequently in Ecuador in recent years
Prisons director Edmundo Moncayo said two groups had been trying to gain “criminal leadership within the detention centres” and the clashes were precipitated by a weapons search carried out by police officers on Monday.
Disturbing photographs and videos on social media show people inmates decapitated and dismembered amid pools of blood.
Mr Moncayo said 800 police officers had been helping to regain control of the facilities.
Families of inmates have been waiting outside the prisons, anxious to find out more details about the deaths.
Images showed people outside the prisons collapsing after learning loved ones had died.(Reuters: Vicente Gaibor del Pino)
Deadly prison riots have happened relatively frequently in Ecuador in recent years.
Prisons there were designed for some 27,000 inmates but house about 38,000.
President Lenin Moreno wrote in a Twitter post that he had ordered the Ministry of Defence “to exercise strict control of weapons, ammunition and explosives in the outer perimeters of prisons” as a result of this week’s riots.
The government said police officers had been injured, without giving further details.(AP: Marcelo Suquilanda)
Minister of Government Patricio Pazmino took to Twitter to blame “the concerted action of criminal organizations to generate violence in the country’s prisons”. But she added: “We are managing actions to regain control.”
The government said there were injured police officers, without giving further details.
Prison officials managed to evacuate during the riots.
Mr Moncayo said close to 70 per cent of the country’s prison population lived in the centres where the unrest occurred.