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LATIN AMERICA | 04-10-2022 15:36

At least 15 dead in Ecuadoran prison riots

Tactical units sent to re-establish control following fatal clash between inmates and authorities.

New clashes were reported on Tuesday in an Ecuadoran prison where 15 people died in a riot the day before, the state prison administration authority said.

"There has been a new incident" in the Latacunga prison in the centre of Ecuador, around 62 miles (100 kilometres) southeast of Quito, a prison authority told reporters.

The prison authority had to send in tactical units to re-establish control following Monday's riot that left at least 15 inmates dead and 21 injured.

SNAI, Ecuador's federal prison bureau, said the most recent clashes took place in a medium security part of the prison that houses 4,300 inmates and is one of the largest in the country.

The authority said "detonations" had been recorded but that police were "containing" the inmates.

 

'TORTURE CENTRES'

According to official estimates, the country's overcrowded prisons contain about 35,000 inmates, many of them members of gangs linked to drug trafficking.

A government committee noted in April that Ecuadorian prisons "are considered warehouses of human beings and torture centres."

Violence in Ecuador's prisons is often carried out with knives and sometimes involves beheadings. 400 prisoners have died as a result since February, 2021.

Bordered by Colombia and Peru, the world's largest cocaine producers, Ecuador serves as a departure port for drug shipments, primarily to the United States and Europe.

In 2021, Ecuador seized a record 210 tons of drugs, mostly cocaine.

Last year, the country of 17.7 million people had a murder rate of 14 per 100,000, nearly double that of 2020.

— TIMES/AFP

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