Quoto, Ecuador (AP) – Thirty-two inmates have been killed in prison riots in three Ecuadorian cities as a result of rival gangs and attempted escape, officials said on Tuesday.
Prison director Edmundo Moncayo told a news conference that 800 police offices were helping to gain control of the facilities. Hundreds of officers from tactical units were deployed since the clashes began late Monday night.
Monkayo said the two groups were trying to gain “criminal leadership inside detention centers” and the clash was triggered by a search of weapons conducted by police officers on Monday.
Photographs and videos on social media show prisoners scattered and scattered among a pool of blood.
Fatal prison riots have become relatively frequent in recent years in Ecuador, whose prisons were built for about 27,000 inmates, but have about 38,000 homes.
President Lenin Moreno retorted that he had ordered the defense ministry to “strictly control weapons, ammunition and explosives on the outer perimeter of the prison” as a result of this week’s riots.
Moncayo said 33 people were killed in Cuenca prison in southern Ecuador, 21 in the Pacific coastal city of Guaquil and eight in the central city of Latachunga.
Monkayo said about 70% of the country’s prison population lives in centers where unrest erupted.
Government Minister Patricio Pazmio sent a tweet accusing “criminal organizations of inciting violence in the country’s prisons”, but added, “We are taking action to regain control.”