QUITO: At least five inmates were killed and 11 more were injured in weekend clashes between gang members in an Ecuadorian prison, authorities said yesterday during the latest outbreak of violence to convulse the country’s jails.
The fighting between inmates belonging to rival organised crime outfits took place between Saturday evening and yesterday morning in the Guayas No 1 prison in the western city of Guayaquil, the SNAI prison authority said in a statement.
The injured were being treated in hospital, it added.
Due to the violence, security protocols were activated across the prison service, and security personnel are currently being held by gang members in four jails, the SNAI said.
The officials appeared to be in good health and security forces were working to free them, it added.
The South American country has suffered a string of serious prison riots since 2021, which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of inmates. The government has attributed the violence to power struggles between drug gangs.
Ecuador has become an important transit point for cocaine moving to Europe and the US.
President Guillermo Lasso has increased the presence of security forces and repeatedly declared an emergency in the prison system in a bid to control the violence.