At least 24 prisoners died and another 49 were injured after a riot registered this Tuesday at the Center for the Deprivation of Liberty Number 1 in the coastal city of Guayaquil, in southwestern Ecuador, apparently by a confrontation between gangs that dispute the control of that penitentiary center.
Fausto Buenaño, commander of the Zone 8 Police, based in Guayaquil, said that after the entrance of the entity’s tactical units in said jail, they found five bodies in the first four intervened pavilions, but that in the fifth, where they concentrated the confrontation, they found another 19 dead by projectile and grenade impact explosive. Buenaño also said that the 49 injured people have been transferred to the outside of the jail to be treated by the nurses.
The governor (representative of the Executive) in the province of Guayas, Pablo Arosemena, indicated that order has been restored in the Litoral Penitentiary after the incidents registered in the morning. He specified that “tactical police units have managed to restore order,” and stressed that the traffic of vehicles in the area where the jail is located has also been normalized, an activity that was suspended as a precaution during the riot.
The Police, in their Twitter profile, reported that detailed searches have been made inside several pavilions of the Guayaquil penitentiary thanks to the action of the entity’s tactical units. The police actions have been carried out in coordination with the National Service for Comprehensive Attention to Adult Personnel Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders (SNAI), an entity that had warned hours before that “the incident began due to fights between criminal gangs, in a pavilion of the penitentiary center “.
On September 22, the Ecuadorian police, during a search in the Guayaquil jail, seized three firearms, 150 ammunition, a grenade, twelve sticks of dynamite and drugs, among other evidence. The SNAI assured then that “improvised explosive devices”, a “handy” radio, 16 mobile phones, 27 knives, five feeders and more than 200 ammunition of different caliber had also been found.
The penitentiary system in Ecuador is in crisis and the Government announced last month that it will allocate 75 million dollars in the next four years to try to solve the situation. In one of the recent acts of violence, on September 13, another prison in the coastal province of Guayas was attacked with drones from outside, causing three explosions and affecting the roof of the center. The event on Tuesday also occurred a day after the director of the SNAI, Fausto Cobo, announced his resignation to occupy another position in a strategic intelligence unit by order of President Guillermo Lasso. Cobo had indicated, when he took over the SNAI, that the frequent confrontations in Ecuadorian prisons were due to struggles between drug cartels, which used local criminal gangs to maintain control of prisons and certain territories used in illegal drug trafficking operations.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.