Confrontation leaves five dead in Ecuador jail

QUITO (HPD) — A confrontation between inmates in a Quito prison left five dead and six injured on Monday, in a new episode of violence inside Ecuador’s prisons.

A week ago there was another confrontation in a Guayaquil prison, where inmates confronted a group of police and military officers who entered to retake control of the place.

Police General Víctor Herrera confirmed in statements to journalists that the inmates attacked each other with knives, which left five inmates dead. Five inmates and a prison officer were also injured in the confrontation.

He added that the police received a riot alert and entered the compound, which houses 1,365 inmates, but were unable to prevent the acts of violence.

According to the authorities, the clashes are a consequence of the disputes over the control of routes and territories for the distribution of drugs at the national and international level. For a couple of years, Ecuador’s state prisons have become the scene of bloody clashes between rival groups, some of them related to Colombian and Mexican drug cartels.

A week ago, a combined force of hundreds of police and military personnel entered the Litoral Penitentiary, the most dangerous in the country, where they were greeted with grenades and rifle fire. Despite this, they managed to take control of the prison and relocate more than 2,000 inmates to other prisons in the country.

In September 2021, the Litoral Penitentiary was the scene of the most violent riot in the country’s recent history, which left 126 prisoners murdered.

According to figures from the Service for the Attention of Persons Deprived of Liberty, 316 inmates were murdered by their colleagues, while so far in 2022 there have been about 120 homicides.

Ecuador’s prison system is designed for around 30,000 inmates, but as of last month there were around 35,000 in the country’s 53 state prisons.

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