The latest violence comes months after the deaths of at least 79 inmates in the country’s worst prison riots.
At least 18 inmates have died and several police officers have been injured in riots in two of Ecuador’s largest penitentiaries, the Andean country’s SNAI prison authority said Wednesday evening, marking the second deadly wave of prison violence this year.
Special police units have deployed to prisons in the southern province of Guayas, home to the largest city of Guayaquil, and in Cotopaxi province, south of the capital Quito, to quell the violence.
Ecuadorian police wrote on Twitter on Thursday that 45 detainees were captured trying to escape from Cotopaxi prison, where SNAI said 10 detainees were dead and 35 injured. Eight prisoners died at Guayas prison, according to SNAI.
In February, at least 79 inmates deceased in three prisons – including the centers of Guayas and Cotopaxi – during clashes between rival gangs.
At least five police officers were injured in the Cotopaxi riot, El Comercio newspaper reported.
Policia Ecuador tweeted images of the prisoners who were able to get out of the prison and reach a vacant lot before being arrested by police and military personnel.
📍 TO DATE, 45 people have been recaptured after trying to escape the #CPLCotopaxi No. 1.
👮🏻♂️We continue to inform pic.twitter.com/ozQ8ljemeS
– Ecuadorian Police (@PoliciaEcuador) July 22, 2021
Translation: AT THE MOMENT, 45 people have been recaptured after trying to escape #CPLCotopaxi # 1. We will continue to inform.
Ecuadorian authorities have for years sought to reduce violence in the country’s overcrowded prisons, which house some 38,000 inmates.
The country’s prison system was declared a state of emergency by then-President Lenin Moreno in 2019 after a spate of incidents that left 24 people dead.