With the outbreak of a new wave of violence, President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency in the country’s prison system.
Riots broke out in the two largest prisons in Ecuador. At least 22 prisoners were killed and several policemen were injured. The Andean country said it was the second wave of deadly prison violence this year.
The government said on Thursday that special police forces have been sent to prisons in southern Guayas province and Cotopaxi province, south of the capital Quito, to quell the violence.
“I want to tell the mafia who are trying to threaten this country that if they think this government will be as weak as the previous one, they are wrong,” President Guillermo Lasso said in a speech in Latacunga. Say.
Lasso, who is Sworn in as president In May, the country’s prison system was declared a state of emergency.
At least 50 people were injured, including some police officers.
The SNAI prison administration said in a statement that elite troops managed to regain control of the two prisons on Wednesday.
According to the death toll updated on Thursday, at least 13 inmates died and 35 prisoners and 6 policemen were injured in Cotopaxi prison.
Police and soldiers prevented 31 prisoners from planning to escape the facility.
SNAI said that in Guayas prison, at least eight prisoners were killed in the violence and three policemen were injured.
Interior Minister Alexandra Vela stated that 78 prisoners have been re-captured.
The prison is overcrowded
In February, at least 79 prisoners died in three prisons – Also includes ?? Guayas and Cotopaxi – in conflicts between rival gangs. Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador, located in Guayas.
In those riots, prisoners were beheaded and burned, violently exposing the power of prison gangs and shocking the country.
The prison system in Ecuador has approximately 60 facilities designed for 29,000 inmates, but it is overcrowded and understaffed.
According to experts, approximately 38,000 detainees are under surveillance by 1,500 guards, and there is a shortage of approximately 2,500.
The Ecuadorian Human Rights Ombudsman stated that 103 people were killed in Ecuadorian prisons in 2020.
In response to the violence, then President Lenin Moreno declared a state of emergency many times, including three months last year.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuador has used alternative penalties for misdemeanors. The initiative has reduced prison overcrowding from 42% to 30%.