At least 43 detainees have been killed in clashes between rival gangs at an Ecuadorian prison, the country’s prosecutors have said.
“There are 43 dead so far,” the attorney general’s office said on Twitter, while Interior Minister Patricio Carrigo spoke of 41 dead in a press conference.
The riots took place in Belavista prison, in the province of Santo Domingo de los Chachigia, about 80 km west of Quito.
According to Agence France-Presse, relatives of the detainees gathered outside the prison trying to find out information about their own people, while ambulances were receiving wounded people with wounds to the face.
Clashes between the two gangs began in the early hours of the morning. About 40 detainees managed to escape, taking advantage of the chaos, but were quickly apprehended by police, according to Carrigio.
Such clashes, often very violent, often occur in Ecuadorian prisons, where about 350 detainees have been killed since February 2021. The latest incident took place in April at a prison in the south of the country, where 20 detainees were killed and some of the bodies found. dismembered.
According to the government, rival drug trafficking gangs, controlled by Mexican cartels, are engaged in a ruthless war that the authorities are currently unable to stop. In 2021, 210 tons of drugs, mainly cocaine, were confiscated in Ecuador. From the beginning of 2022 the confiscated quantity reaches about 70 tons.