At Least 116 Dead In Gang Battle At Ecuador Jail; 5 Beheaded

Story Highlights
  • Ecuador's prison system has become a battleground for thousands of prisoners with ties to powerful Mexican drug gangs.
  • The death count in an Ecuador prison is 116.
  • Inmates went to war armed with guns and grenades on Tuesday at the Guayaquil prison complex.

A battle between gangs in Eucador’s prison killed at least 116 people and injured 80 in what authorities are calling the worst penitentiary massacre in Ecuador’s history. According to the official record, at least five deaths were reported beheaded. President Guillermo Lasso decreed a state of emergency in Ecuador’s prison system, allowing the government to deploy the police and soldiers to penitentiaries among other powers.

Lasso, visibly affected, said at a news conference that what was happening in the Guayaquil prison was “bad and sad” and he could not for the moment guarantee that authorities had regained control of the lockup. “Regrettably that the prisons are being turned into territories for power disputes by criminal gangs,” said the President.

He further added that he would act with “absolute firmness” to regain control of the Litoral prison and prevent the violence from spreading to other penitentiaries. He ensured that care points had been set up for relatives of the inmates with food and psychological support. He added that a $24 million program to address the country’s prisons will be accelerated, starting with investments in infrastructure and technology in the Litoral prison.

Earlier on Tuesday, Eucador authorities attributed Tuesday’s bloodshed at the Litoral penitentiary in the coastal city of Guayaquil to gangs linked to international drug cartels fighting for control of the lockup.

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