Death toll in prison riots in Ecuador rises to 27 crime news

President Guillermo Lasso issued an order to “mobilize all necessary human and economic resources” to restore order after the fatal incident.

Ecuador this week has increased the number of prisoners involved in riots in two prisons to 27, forcing the government to declare a state of emergency.

On Wednesday, following violence in the prisons of Guayas in southwest Ecuador and Cotopaxi in the center of the country, President Guillermo Lasso issued an order to “mobilize all necessary human and economic resources to Restoring order in Ecuador’s prisons”.

The SNAI prison management agency posted on social media on Friday that “19 prisoners died in Cotopaxi prison and one of them was hanged”.

According to reports, eight prisoners were killed in Guayas prison.

The authorities initially reported that 22 people were killed in the riots and 57 others were injured, including 8 police officers and one of them was raped.

Several prisoners were killed in a riot in Latacunga on Thursday and soldiers arrived outside Cotopaxi No. 1 Prison [Johanna Alarcon/Reuters]

The governor of Cotopaxi Province, Osvaldo Coronel, explained at a press conference that the previously uncounted bodies were found on Thursday night and are therefore not included in the first death toll.

SNAI also stated that 86 escaped Cotopaxi prisoners had been re-captured, but did not specify the number of escaped prisoners.

The two prisons had previously experienced violent riots in February, when rival gangs clashed for control of the country’s main prisons. 79 prisoners died in one day.

The prison system in Ecuador has approximately 60 facilities designed for 29,000 inmates, but it is overcrowded and understaffed.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuador has been using alternative penalties for misdemeanors as a means of alleviating the prison population, thereby reducing overcrowding from 42% to 30%.

The Ecuadorian Human Rights Ombudsman stated that 103 people were killed in Ecuadorian prisons in 2020.

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