It is well-known that one of the Ecuadorian gangs was responsible for the deaths in another prison.
The latest in a spate of prison riots in Ecuador has left 44 inmates dead and more than a hundred still at large, the country’s Interior Ministry confirmed on Monday.
According to the ministry’s head, Patricio Carrillo, the tragedy at the Bellavista prison in Santo Domingo, a province located to the west of the capital city of Quito, resulted from a fight between inmates from two rival gangs: Los Lobos, which was involved in a recent riot at another prison near the city of Cuenca, and R7.
Carrillo indicated that most deaths were due to stab wounds. Carrillo said that there was a possibility of more casualties as many people sustained severe injuries. Initial estimates had 41 dead, but Tuesday’s figures showed that 44 had been reported.
The bodies of all victims are scheduled to be delivered to loved ones on Tuesday.
Guillermo Lasso, Ecuador’s President, responded to this news saying that his country was “shocked” by the situation. “will not give in to the mafias.”
“It is our firm commitment to bring order back into prison cells. The actions of the Ecuador Police, the Interior Ministry and Ecuador Police that immediately transferred six leaders from criminal gangs is an example.,” he said.
Two separate maximum security prisons were used to house the gang leaders. Carrillo stated that 112 of the inmates were captured and 108 remain at large.
The number of prison-related incidents in Ecuador has been on the rise over recent years. At least 321 inmates died in prison riots in 2021.
In April of this year, however, there were 20 deaths in a fight at Turi prison near Cuenca.
The government has cited an increase in drug trafficking as among the factors contributing to the rise in violence in the country’s penitentiaries, although overcrowding in prisons remains a significant problem, even despite an increase in investment by the state
Lasso also granted pardons for several prisoners last November in an effort to solve the issue. This decision came a few days after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a strongly-worded statement urging the Ecuadorian authorities “To take effective and immediate measures to ensure the safety of individuals held in state custody.”
Ecuador’s 65 prisons house around 39,000 inmates but have stated capacity for only 30,000.
Bellavista has a maximum capacity of 1,200 prisoners, but it currently holds 1,700.
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