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At least 68 dead in a new riot in the most populated jail in Guayaquil

New incidents, the result of clashes between criminal gangs, have been registered in the Litoral Penitentiary, in western Ecuador. President Guillermo Lasso has called for “constitutional tools” against violence in prisons.

At least 68 prisoners have died and dozens have been injured during a riot that started as a result of a confrontation between criminal gangs early Saturday morning at the Litoral Penitentiary, the most populated prison in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, in the west of the country.

The balance has been confirmed by the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office after an incident that seemed to be under control after 14 hours of fighting, the majority in the pavilion 2 of the compound, that housed about 700 inmates. As explained on Twitter, “around 68 prisoners were killed and another 25 injured.”

On the other hand, the governor of the province of Guayas, Pablo Arosemena, has detailed that “since pavilion 2 was without a leader, other PPL (persons deprived of liberty) tried to subdue them.” He explained that the lighting system was destroyed and that “they not only used weapons and detonations, they also tried to suffocate them, burning mattresses and more.” The Police and the National Comprehensive Attention Service (SNAI) managed to calm the violence after breaking into the jail at dawn with special tactical units. They seized a rifle, ten sticks of dynamite, and two pistols.

Another riot in the same jail, which occurred at the end of September, left 120 prisoners dead as a result of clashes over leadership between gangs of ‘narcos’, according to the official version. Clashes between rival gangs are a constant in Ecuador’s prisons, what has caused more than 300 dead so far this year, according to police reports.

Lasso calls for “constitutional tools”

The spokesman for the Presidency of Ecuador, Carlos Jijón, has announced that the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, is leading a crisis cabinet to address the situation, and that he has invited several representatives of civil society to organize a dialogue inside the prison.

Shortly after knowing the initial incident, the Ecuadorian president asked the State institutions, especially the Constitutional Court, “suitable constitutional tools to protect the population, regain order in the prisons and fight the mafias that profit from chaos. “

The country’s Constitutional Court, however, has rejected the president’s insinuation, issuing a statement in which it rejects the “statements made by the President of the Republic, who has called for attention seeking to evade his own responsibilities.”

In its brief, the court has reproached Lasso that “in the opinions issued since 2019 it is repeatedly noted that the severe crisis affecting the prison system requires concrete and structural actions, different from those that can be adopted in a state of exception”.

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