New riot in a prison in Ecuador: dozens dead, a hundred escaped

The clashes took place in the prison of Bellavista, in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, on Monday May 9.

AP - Dolores Ochoa

Text by: RFI Follow

2 mins

At least 43 prisoners died in clashes between rival gangs on Monday in a prison in Ecuador.

A hundred other detainees were able to escape thanks to the violence.

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The clashes broke out in the early morning in Bellavista prison, in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, about 80 km from the capital Quito.

They pitted members of two rival gangs against each other.

According to a first assessment communicated on Twitter by the office of the Attorney General, this violence left 43 dead among the detainees.  

During a press conference, the chief of police, General Fausto Salinas also indicated that 108 prisoners were " 

missing

 ".

The Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carillo, for his part reported 112 other escaped prisoners who could be " 

recaptured

 ".

On the spot, wounded with facial wounds were taken care of by ambulances and relatives of the detainees crowded around the penitentiary center to try to obtain information, noted Agence France-Presse.

Recurring violence

Clashes, often extremely violent, are recurrent in Ecuadorian prisons, where nearly 350 prisoners have died since February 2021. The last episode took place in early April in a prison in the south of the country, where 20 prisoners had found dead and some bodies were mutilated.

According to the government, rival gangs of drug traffickers, infiltrated or controlled by Mexican cartels, are waging a merciless war to take control of the overcrowded prisons.

So far, the authorities have been powerless to stem it.

To read also: Ecuador: the president promises, again, to regain control of prisons

Bordered by Colombia and Peru, the world's largest cocaine producers, Ecuador serves as a port of departure for illicit shipments, mainly to the United States and Europe.

In 2021, Ecuador seized a record 210 tons of drugs, mostly cocaine.

For 2022, seizures to date have reached around 70 tons.

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  • Ecuador

  • Crime

  • Dope

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