Prison riots in Ecuador leave 21 dead

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Getty Images
  • The riots broke out at two prisons, one in Guayas and the other in the central Andean province of Cotopaxi.
  • At least 21 inmates were killed and 50 people were injured.
  • Police and soldiers also prevented a planned escape from the Cotopaxi prison.


Riots at two prisons in Ecuador left at least 21 inmates dead, authorities said Thursday as the country grappled with its second wave of deadly prison violence this year.

Another 50 people were injured including some police officers. Elite police units regained control of the two prisons on Wednesday, one in the southwest province of Guayas and the other in the central Andean province of Cotopaxi, the SNAI prisons management body said in a statement.

Thirteen inmates died at the Cotopaxi prison and 35 prisoners and six police officers were injured, according to an updated toll Thursday.

Police and soldiers prevented a planned escape from the facility by 31 inmates.

At the Guayas prison, eight inmates lost their lives in the violence and three police were injured, SNAI said.

ALSO READ | Swedish inmates in a high security prison took 2 guards hostage and demanded pizza as ransom

The two penitentiaries were also involved in a wave of riots that broke out in February. In a single day, 79 inmates died in clashes between rival gangs vying for control over the country's main prisons.

In those riots, inmates were decapitated and burnt in violence that exposed the power of prison gangs and shocked the South American nation.

Ecuador's prison system has about 60 facilities designed for 29 000 inmates but is burdened by overcrowding and staffing shortages. About 38 000 detainees are watched over by 1 500 guards, a shortfall of some 2 500, according to experts.

Ecuador's human rights ombudsman says there were 103 killings in Ecuador's prisons in 2020.

In an attempt to counter the violence, then-president Lenin Moreno declared a state of emergency several times, including for three months last year.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuador has used alternative sentences for minor offenses as a means of easing its prison population, which reduced overcrowding from 42 percent to 30 percent.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Should Covid-19 vaccinations be mandatory for employees in workplaces?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, it is the responsible thing to do
47% - 5392 votes
No, vaccination should be an individual choice
43% - 4921 votes
No, but those who are unvaccinated should have to work from home
11% - 1220 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.47
+1.0%
Rand - Pound
20.09
+1.1%
Rand - Euro
17.18
+1.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.65
+0.6%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.7%
Gold
1,813.21
-0.1%
Silver
25.41
-0.3%
Palladium
2,684.00
+0.8%
Platinum
1,057.00
+0.5%
Brent Crude
75.41
+0.4%
Top 40
62,704
0.0%
All Share
68,823
0.0%
Resource 10
70,527
0.0%
Industrial 25
87,739
0.0%
Financial 15
12,915
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE