Ecuadorian penitentiaries have become a place of operations for criminal gangs, which compete for the drug market. A dozen such clashes have taken place since February 2021, killing more than 420 people, including dozens who were burned alive or who died of mutilation.
At least five inmates have died and five have been injured in a new clash between gangs in a prison in Ecuador, the penitentiary administration of this country, which is facing drug trafficking, said on Sunday.
“We regret to announce that, so far, five people deprived of their liberty have died and 11 have been injured” following the violence at Guayas 1 prison, the prison administration (SNAI) said in a press release.
The injured were transferred to the hospital, explained this service, specifying that they were out of danger. Sunday, in front of the prison where soldiers, police and ambulances were circulating, relatives of detainees were waiting for news.
“I am desperate here, I would like information but I don’t have any,” said a woman whose son is in prison and who asked not to be named.
Help from the police and the army to secure prisons
Earlier, the SNAI had ordered to tighten security in all prisons in the country with the help of the police and the army.
Interior Minister Juan Zapata indicated that the protocols for the supervision and execution of strategies aimed at the control, order and security of prisoners are “operational”. This measure was decided after previous confrontations in Guayas 1, located in Guayaquil, a city in western Ecuador among the most affected by violence and drug trafficking.
The SNAI reported that “security agents are being held hostage” by members of criminal groups in four other penitentiary centers in the country, in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Azuay, Canar and El Oro.
Actions “are being carried out by the security institutions to release them and return to normal,” the organization said, adding that they were in good health.
According to a recent census, 31,321 people, including 3,245 foreigners, are detained in Ecuador’s prisons, which have a capacity of 30,000 places.
Source: BFM TV