Quito, Oct 6 (EFE).- The number of victims of the latest Ecuador prison massacre rose to 13 dead and 22 wounded, officials said on Thursday.
It was the second incident of its kind in three days after another in a different prison on Monday left 16 prisoners dead and 43 wounded.
The casualty toll was updated at noon Thursday by the National Penitentiary Service (SNAI), which is in charge of controlling the prisons, after a large contingent of police and military managed to enter the pavilions involved.
The massacre took place in the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil, the largest and most populated prison in Ecuador, with a confrontation between prisoners that began in the early hours of Wednesday afternoon and lasted until almost midnight after several hours of shootings and detonations.
The 22 injured included 16 inmates and six police officers, who were killed as they tried to enter the jail to restore order.
“It may be that during the course of the day, as the pavilions are entered, more victims will be found,” the deputy director of precautionary measures of the SNAI, Víctor Jácome, told reporters.
During the morning, procedures to remove the bodies started while inspections continued in the various buildings.
Guayas provincial governor Lorenzo Calvas said that “the injured are in different health centers,” and “there are some who are seriously injured and others who have minor injuries.”
The death toll has been rising as the authorities have been able to access various pavilions.
At midnight the first death was confirmed and during the early hours four others were found, while throughout the morning eight more bodies were located after the entry of more than 400 police officers and 500 soldiers to search the prison that holds more than 6,800 inmates.
The clashes inside the prison also spilled over into the streets of Durán, a municipality near Guayaquil, with an exchange of fire between two gangs that left four dead and four wounded during the early hours of the morning, police said.
This latest brawl began just two days after Monday’s massacre in Cotopaxi prison, near the Andean city of Latacunga, where 16 prisoners were killed and 43 others were injured.
The Litoral Penitentiary was last year the scene of the largest prison massacre in Ecuador’s history, leaving 122 prisoners dead, according to the SNAI.
More than 100 inmates have died in Ecuador’s prisons since the beginning of 2002 and more than 450 since 2020, the vast majority in a series of massacres between rival gangs of criminals vying for internal control of the prisons.
Searches carried out after these violent and bloody episodes revealed that prisoners had in their possession large arsenals of weapons, from firearms such as pistols and rifles with a large number of bullets, to bladed weapons such as large knives and machetes.
Ecuador has 36 prisons that house more than 32,000 prisoners, of which the outgoing director of the SNAI, Pablo Ramírez, estimates that some 11,000 identify with criminal gangs that are in conflict inside. EFE