Ecuador: Fatal prison riot leaves at least 44 dead

AFP

3 min read
A policeman stands guard outside the Bellavista prison after a riot, in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, on May 9, 2022.
Juan Carlos Perez/AFPA policeman stands guard outside the Bellavista prison after a riot, in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, on May 9, 2022.

Public prosecutor's office says that the situation is 'developing'

At least 44 inmates died on Monday in Ecuador's latest grisly prison riot, the public prosecutor said, as another 100 prisoners managed to escape.

Authorities said a fight broke out between the rival Los Lobos and R7 gangs inside the Bellavista prison in Santo Domingo de los Colorados, in the center of Ecuador some 50 miles from Quito.

Earlier on Monday, the public prosecutor's office said on Twitter that "there are 43 inmates dead," adding that the situation was "developing."

Interior minister Patricio Carrillo initially told reporters that two inmates were killed before later increasing that figure to 41 in a press conference. The public prosecutor's office then tweeted the latest death toll.

Carrillo also claimed authorities were in control.

Police chief Fausto Salinas told reporters that 108 inmates were missing after another 112 escaped prisoners were recaptured.

Inmates with facial injuries were taken by truck and ambulance to medical facilities while family members of those incarcerated gathered at the prison looking for information, AFP reporters at the scene said.

Juan Carlos Perez/AFP
Juan Carlos Perez/AFPA wounded inmate is transported from a truck to an ambulance after a riot, outside the Bellavista prison in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, on May 9, 2022.

Prior to this incident, around 350 inmates were killed in five separate prison riots since February 2021.

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso insists the problem inside the facilities mirrors that outside, where drug gangs are vying for control of trafficking routes.

Those rivalries among inmates sometimes explode into violence, with some prisoners hacked to death or beheaded with machetes.

Even with greater investment in the prison system, the creation of a commission to pacify facilities and new policies such as the holding of the most dangerous prisoners at a single penitentiary, violence remains high.

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