Dozens of inmates have been killed in gang fighting in a prison in Ecuador.

After the police initially declared the violence to be over on Saturday morning, fighting broke out in the detention center in the port city of Guayaquil during the day.

In the evening, the situation was "under control" again, said a spokesman for the Ecuadorian government.

Members of a gang attacked members of a rival gang with firearms, explosives and machetes during the fighting that broke out on Friday evening.

Provincial Governor Pablo Arosemena spoke of a repulsive "degree of rudeness".

He said the police were able to “save lives” by intervening.

Around 900 police officers on duty

Around noon on Saturday, the authorities said 68 inmates had been killed and at least 25 others injured.

The police broke into the affected prison block and stopped the violence.

But a few hours later, "there were more incidents," said the spokesman.

Only after around 900 police officers were deployed did calm return.

In a video published on the Internet, an inmate from the attacked prison block says: “We are stuck here in our building.

They want to kill us all.

Please share this video.

Please help us "while loud cracks can be heard in the background.

"They are people, help them"

Dozens of worried and crying family members of inmates gathered in front of the prison.

“They are people, help them,” read a banner.

In the chronically overcrowded Ecuadorian prisons, clashes occur again and again between members of gangs connected to Mexican drug cartels.

As recently as September, 119 prisoners were killed in gang fights in the same prison.

More than 300 prisoners have been killed in the country's prisons this year.

With its location between the major drug producers Colombia and Peru, Ecuador is an important hub for drug smuggling to the US and Europe.

Guayaquil in southwest Ecuador is the country's most important port city.

It is considered to be the central hub for the cocaine trade.