Death toll from prison clashes in Ecuador rises to 68

Relatives of inmates mourn outside the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on Nov 13, 2021, after a riot occurred. (FERNANDO MENDEZ / AFP)

QUITO – The death toll from the clashes at the Litoral Penitentiary in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil has risen to 68, the State Attorney General's Office reported on Saturday.

The clashes occurred on Friday night and early on Saturday and left an initial balance of 58 dead and 12 injured, according to a previous report from the police and the Guayas provincial government.

The incident took place in pavilion 2 of the prison, which houses some 700 inmates and included explosions, the use of knives, and the burning of mattresses

The incident took place in pavilion 2 of the prison, which houses some 700 inmates and included explosions, the use of knives, and the burning of mattresses.

The police said that the clashes were the result of a power struggle between groups linked to drug trafficking.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso reported on Twitter that he has convened a security committee to analyze the situation.

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Clashes between rival gangs are frequent in Ecuadorian prisons and have caused more than 300 deaths so far this year, according to police reports.

The Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil was the scene of another revolt on Sept. 29 in which 118 prisoners died. It is considered the worst prison riot to have occurred in the country's history. This event led the president to decree a state of emergency for 60 days in the country's prison system to stop the wave of violence. 

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