At least 62 people have died in simultaneous violent riots in three Ecuadorean prisons on Tuesday (February 23) that the government described as a concerted action by criminal organisations.
President Lenin Moreno has sought to control prison violence in the Andean country, declaring the prison system in a temporary state of emergency, because of the frequent confrontations between criminal gangs.
With the help of an additional 800 police officers authorities have been able “to control and restore order within the detention centres”, according to officials.
The violence erupted in prisons in Guayas, Azuay and Cotopaxi provinces, which hold about 70% of Ecuador’s total prison population according to official statistics.
The government said there were wounded police officers, without giving further details. Prison officials managed to evacuate during the riots.
Ecuador has about 53 detention centres, including those for juvenile offenders, with a prison population of some 37,500 people, according to official data.
(Production: Vicente Gaibor, Herbert Villarraga, Paul Vieira)