Six inmates have been beheaded as at least 29 have been killed in a fight between rival drug gangs armed with guns and grenades in Ecuador’s latest deadly prison riot
- It took police and military more than five hours on Tuesday to regain control of the prison
- Prisoners of two rival gangs battled with guns, knives and… explosives
- The prison is located in the coastal city of Guayaquil, a major hub for cocaine exports
- Gang prison clashes killed more than 100 inmates this year
Six prisoners have been beheaded. At least 29 have been killed in a fight between rival drug gangs armed with guns and grenades during a riot at a prison in Ecuador.
It was the latest in a series of deadly prison clashes between rival drug gangs that have killed more than 100 inmates this year.
It took police and military more than five hours to regain control of Litoral Penitentiary in the coastal city of Guayaquil, as they battled inmates armed with guns, knives and explosives on Tuesday.
The violence was sparked by a gang conflict between ‘Los Lobos’ (The Wolves) and ‘Los Choneros’ (originally from the town of Chone).
A shirtless prisoner stands on the roof during Tuesday’s rioting at Litoral Penitentiary in the coastal town of Guayaquil
A riot police officer clambers over a barbed wire fence outside the prison. It took police and military more than five hours to regain control of Litoral Penitentiary
Prisoners sit on the roof during the chaos sparked by a gang clash between ‘Los Lobos’ (The Wolves) and ‘Los Choneros’ (originally from the city of Chone)
Television images showed inmates shooting from prison windows, while others clambered onto rooftops in an attempt to avoid the massacre.
The state government of Guayas posted images on its Twitter account showing six chefs being evacuated from one of the prison wings.
Officials gave conflicting statements about the number of injured, with the attorney general’s office saying 42, while the state prison bureau had previously put that number at 48.
President Guillermo Lasso retweeted a prison bureau announcement that order “has been restored to the Littoral Penitentiary after Tuesday’s incidents.”
Ecuador’s prison system has become a battleground between inmates associated with Mexican drug gangs – primarily the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels.
Guayaquil, Ecuador’s main port city, is a major hub for the shipment of South American cocaine northward, especially to the United States.
Last week, police seized two pistols, a revolver, some 500 rounds of ammunition, a hand grenade, several knives, two sticks of dynamite and homemade explosives from one of the city jails.
A concerned relative of a prisoner awaits news outside the prison on Tuesday evening
Concerned relatives protest at riot police outside prison on Tuesday evening
Relatives of detainees speak to police for information during Tuesday’s riots
Two weeks ago, Guayaquil’s number 4 prison was attacked by drones, part of “a war between international cartels,” prison authorities said. There were no casualties in the attack.
Ecuador’s prison system has about 60 facilities designed for 29,000 inmates, but is plagued by overcrowding and staff shortages.
The country’s human rights ombudsman said there were 103 murders in prisons in 2020.
Twenty-seven inmates died in prison riots in two prisons in July, in an incident that forced the government to declare a state of emergency.