Quito, Ecuador (NWN) – A protracted gun battle between rival gangs inside Ecuador’s biggest prison killed at least 58 inmates in the latest violence to kill the littoral penitentiary in a protracted gun battle early Saturday, which has swept the country recently. The worst prison bloodshed ever seen.
Fighting lasted nearly eight hours in the coastal city of Guayaquil, and officials blamed prison gangs linked to international drug cartels for the fighting. In the video going viral on social media, some bodies are seen lying on the ground inside the jail, with burnt.
The prisoners “tried to dynamite a wall to get into Pavilion 2 to carry out a massacre. They also burned mattresses to try to drown (their rivals) in the smoke,” said Governor Pablo Arosemena of Guayas Province Said where Guayaquil is located.
“We are fighting against drug trafficking,” Arosemena said. “it’s very hard.”
Police Commander General Tanya Varela said officers using drones saw prisoners armed with guns and explosives in three pavilions and were trying to enter Pavilion 2, which was without its leader, which was opened earlier this week. was released in
She said police officers enter to guard the pavilion and try to get prisoners from other areas back to their cells. “These incidents are due to disputes between criminal gangs over territory; Now there are pavilions without leaders,” she said.
In addition to the 58 dead, 12 prisoners were injured and officers confiscated bombs and guns, officials said.
The prison violence comes amid a national emergency declared by President Guillermo Lasso in October that empowers security forces to fight drug trafficking and other crimes.
Ecuadorian safe havens are witnessing a wave of brutal violence.
In late September, at least 118 people were killed in a fight between gang members at Littoral Prison, which officials described as the worst prison massacre in the South American country. At least five of the dead have been beheaded, officials said. In February, 79 prisoners were killed in simultaneous riots in different prisons. And in July, 22 prisoners were killed in the Ecuadorian peninsula.
On Saturday, the relatives of the prisoners gathered outside the Littoral Jail to get the news of their loved ones.
“Enough of this. When will they stop the murder? It’s not a slaughterhouse, it’s a prison, they’re humans,” said Francesca Chankey, 55, whose brother has been in prison for eight months.
Some were calling on Ecuadorian security forces to take control of the prisons.
“What are (President Guillermo) Lasso waiting for? That leads to more deaths?,” said 62-year-old Maritza Vera, whose son is a prisoner. “Have mercy, where are human rights. We thought this was about to change, but It’s worse.”
Ecuador’s penitentiary system holds 40,000 prisoners, of whom about 8,500 are in littoral. According to prison services figures, the Littoral Prison was designed to hold only 5,000 people.
Vera said, “I feel sad and in pain because too much has died.” “We are desperate.”