Quito, Ecuador (AP)-In a prison in the coastal city of Guayaquil in Ecuador, at least 100 prisoners were killed and 52 injured in a battle between gangs. Officials claim this is the country’s worst prison massacre. Officials claimed that at least five people were reportedly killed.
The Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso declared the prison system in Ecuador to be under emergency and blamed the violence at Guayas prison for groups associated with international drug cartels.
The Bureau of Prisons stated in a tweet that “as of now, more than 100 people have been confirmed dead and 52 injured”. The clash on Tuesday was fought with bombs, knives and guns.
Bolivar Garzon (director of the prison bureau) said that it was a tragedy. “The battle between the bands and the criminal groups trying to control internal affairs have reached these levels.”
According to the Ministry of Communications of Ecuador, the president will announce details of the emergency at a press conference.
Ledy Zúñiga, the former chairman of the National Rehabilitation Council of Ecuador, said: “In the history of the country, there has not been an incident similar to or even close to this.”
Zuniga, who also serves as the country’s attorney general, said she regretted not taking steps to prevent another massacre following the fatal riot in the prison last February.
Images circulated on social media show that there is a large number of bodies in Hall 9 of Guayas prison. The prison’s creepy images echoed the cries of relatives of soldiers, prisoners, armored vehicles and soldiers who waited outside.
Earlier in the day, the confirmed death toll was 30, but regional police commander Fausto Buenaño said that the bodies found in the prison pipeline are still being confirmed.
Officials stated that it took five hours to regain control over the prison on Tuesday. Officials stated that violence erupted with knives, gunfire and explosions. The incident was triggered by a conflict between the “Los Lobos and Los Choneros prison gangs.
Colonel Mario Pazminho, the former head of the Ecuadorian Military Intelligence Agency, stated that the bloody battle showed that “transnational organized crime has penetrated the structure of Ecuador’s prisons”, adding that Mexico’s Sinaloa and Jalisco’s new generation Cartels operate through local gangs.
He told the Associated Press that “they want to spread terror” after confirming five of his beheadings.