Dozens of inmates have been killed or injured in a brutal gang war which has engulfed prisons in Ecuador. A vicious battle erupted on September 28 within a penitentiary in the coastal city of Guayaquil, requiring hundreds of heavily armed police officers and military units to bring the situation under control. The president of Ecuador declared a state of emergency in July in response to a prison gang war which has left more than 100 dead.
More than 100 killed in prison gang war so far
At least 30 inmates were killed and dozens more injured in a chaotic battle between Ecuadorian prison gangs.
The Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil is considered to be one of the most dangerous prisons in Ecuador and a major center for gang activity.
The Ecuadorian prison system has struggled to contain a conflict between rival gangs with ties to international drug cartels.
Overcrowding in 2021 has driven the situation to a major crisis which authorities have failed to bring under control thus far.
The latest battle is thought to be inspired by tensions between rival Mexican cartels which are competing to forge alliances with Ecuadorian gangs.
Police reported that prisoners in the Litoral Penitentiary were able to crawl through holes to cross between wings of the facility and attack other inmates.
Prisoners decapitate each other, throw grenades
The combatants used knives, guns, and grenades to kill each other; some were found decapitated after authorities regained control of the prison.
These weapons were turned on police as they attempted to storm the facility over the course of a five hour battle with the rioting inmates.
Six cooks who were trapped in the prison when the revolt started were safely evacuated after several harrowing hours spent in the midst of the conflict.
The bloodiest battle in the ongoing prison gang war took place in February, when 79 inmates were killed in simultaneous riots in three separate prisons.
The Litoral Penitentiary itself hosted a smaller clash in July, in which 22 inmates were killed.
The president of Ecuador announced plans in July to begin a process of easing overcrowding by releasing eligible prisoners, though the latest clash indicates that the problem is far from being solved.