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Authorities: Prison riots in Ecuador leave 62 dead

Last Updated Feb 23, 2021 at 4:00 pm MST

QUITO, Ecuador — Sixty-two inmates have died in riots at prisons in three cities in Ecuador as a result of fights between rival gangs and an escape attempt, authorities said Tuesday.

Prisons Director Edmundo Moncayo said in a news conference that 800 police offices have been helping to regain control of the facilities. Hundreds of officers from tactical units had been deployed since the clashes broke out late Monday.

Moncayo said that two groups were trying to gain “criminal leadership within the detention centres” and that the clashes were precipitated by a search for weapons carried out Monday by police officers.

Moncayo said 33 died at the prison in Cuenca in southern Ecuador, 21 in the Pacific coast city of Guayaquil and eight in the central city of Latacunga.

Moncayo said that close to 70% of the country’s prison population lives in the centres where the unrest occurred.

Minister of Government Patricio Pazmiño sent a tweet blaming “the concerted action of criminal organizations to generate violence in the country’s prisons,” but added, “We are managing actions to regain control.”

The Associated Press