The deadliest act of violence ever reported in Ecuador’s penitentiary system occurred at the Guayaquil prison complex, leaving at least 116 dead with six decapitations in Tuesday’s massacre.
Believed to be an apex of war between Mexican drug gangs, Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso issued a state of emergency for the prison system, allowing police and soldiers to assist in regaining control.
“It is unfortunate that criminal groups are attempting to convert prisons into a battleground for power disputes,” said Lasso to reporters. “I ask God to bless Ecuador and that we can avoid more loss of human life.”
According to the Associated Press, “Officials said the violence erupted from a dispute between the ‘Los Lobos’ and ‘Los Choneros’ prison gangs.”
This is not the first occurrence of violence like this in 2021, either. Ecuador’s total prison deaths have skyrocketed this year, with 79 people dying in February and 22 more in July. This incident is the largest occurrence in any one prison.
The storm has been brewing for at least two weeks now when drones attacked Guayaquil’s Prison Number 4. No one was injured; prison authorities claimed it was part of a war between international cartels.
Last week, an alarming amount of weapons were confiscated from inmates in one of the cities. They include a revolver, two pistols, 500 rounds of ammunition, several knives, a hand grenade, homemade explosives, and two sticks of dynamite.
As of press time, officials are still attempting to regain control.
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