At least 116 killed and 80 injured in Ecuador prison riot

Hundreds of police officers sent in to restore order after rival gangs battle for control of Guayaquil jail

Relatives wait for information after 116 inmates were killed in a prison riot in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  Photograph: EPA

Relatives wait for information after 116 inmates were killed in a prison riot in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Photograph: EPA

 

Ecuador’s national police service said on Thursday it had sent in 400 officers to restore order at one of the country’s largest prisons after a riot in which at least 116 inmates were killed and 80 injured.

Rival gangs battled for control of the Penitenciaria del Litoral in Guayas province on Tuesday night in the deadliest act of prison violence in the South American country’s history, after 79 and 22 died in riots in February and July this year, respectively.

“Around 400 police officers are carrying out an intervention and search operation inside [the prison] in order to maintain order and guarantee security,” the national police force, Policia Ecuador, wrote on Twitter early on Thursday, alongside a video of officers marching with riot gear.

The police force later added that officers had discovered three explosive devices within the prison, which is on the outskirts of the Andean nation’s largest city of Guayaquil. Ecuador’s prosecutor’s office said late on Wednesday that it was still collecting information from within the detention centre.

President Guillermo Lasso said on Wednesday he would free up funds and send additional security forces into the country’s prison system to avoid a repeat of the clashes.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the acts of violence and called on Ecuador to prevent criminal groups from operating from within its penitentiaries.

“IACHR again urges the state of Ecuador to investigate the facts with due diligence and implement actions to avoid a repeat, such as increasing security and surveillance in prisons,” the Washington-based human rights wing of the Organization of American States wrote on Twitter. – Reuters