Quito, Ecuador.- At least 41 prisoners have died and several have been injured in a violent confrontation between rival gangs linked to drug trafficking in a prison in the interior of Ecuador, the interior minister said on Monday.
In a press conference, Minister Patricio Carrillo said that those deprived of liberty from one organization came out of their cells and attacked those from another criminal group inside the detention center.
“They never want to rehabilitate themselves, and they have shown it with facts, it is the facts that define them. What was experienced in the center of the city of Santo Domingo was cruelty by this criminal organization,” said the official.
“It can be shown that those who lost their lives were executed with a knife, the majority of bodies have these characteristics.”
Carrillo also offered help from the government to the relatives to transfer the bodies to their places of origin.
He added that firearms, grenades and other materials have been found in the hands of the inmates of the Bellavista prison. That prison is located in the city of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, 70 kilometers southwest of Quito.
The Police confirmed that after the intervention of tactical and assault groups, the detention center was once again under the control of the authorities, especially the maximum security pavilion, where the events occurred.
Videos that circulated on social networks showed the prison, still in the dark, and screams and shots coming from inside.
General Fausto Salinas, who will be sworn in as Commander General of the Police in the next few hours, told the Teleamazonas television station that “there are 40 people recaptured, prisoners who tried to escape.”
In recent years, Ecuador’s prisons have become the scene of violent attacks between inmates, mainly due to disputes between gangs related to drug trafficking and drug export routes allegedly linked to Mexican cartels. The last of these riots, which left 20 dead, was recorded in early April.
In March Amnesty International, in its annual report, assured that at least 316 prisoners died as a result of clashes in Ecuadorian prisons during 2020, the most serious occurring in September of that year with a balance of 119 deaths. The massacres were the product of clashes between rival drug gangs.