15 prisoners killed in prison riot in Ecuador

Bduring a prison riot in Ecuador at least 15 prisoners were killed and 21 others injured. According to the authorities, the violence broke out on Monday in the Cotopaxi detention center near the city of Latacunga. With around 4,300 inmates, the prison south of the capital Quito is one of the largest penal institutions in the Latin American country and has been the scene of violence with seven massacres since the beginning of 2021.

Police and army “tactical units” would continue to operate to “take back control” of the penitentiary, according to the SNAI. The authorities had previously announced that rescue workers had taken care of five injured prisoners and taken another prisoner to a hospital. The SNAI did not provide any information about the injuries.

Bloody clashes between rival drug gangs keep breaking out in Ecuador’s chronically overcrowded prisons. Since early 2021, nearly 400 prisoners have been killed in such fighting.

The authorities have so far proved unable to contain these acts of violence, which often involve knives, beheadings and other barbaric acts. According to official estimates, around 35,000 prisoners are being held in the country’s overcrowded prisons, including many members of drug gangs.

Located between the major drug producers Colombia and Peru, Ecuador is an important hub for drug smuggling to the US and Europe. Rival gangs with ties to international drug cartels fight for control – including in prisons. This has led to a significant increase in violence in Ecuador.

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