Police and the military took five hours to regain control at the Litoral Penitentiary in Ecuador where six of the 30 dead were decapitated and a further 49 people were injured
A fight between rival drug gangs in one of Ecuador’s most notorious prisons has left 30 people dead, with six of them being beheaded.
A further 49 people were injured in an escalation of the trouble in the country’s prisons with 156 inmates killed in clashes between rival groups this year.
Guns and grenades were used in the battle at Litoral Penitentiary in the coastal city of Guayaquil with it taking five hours before the authorities managed to regain control on Tuesday.
The prison is the biggest in Ecuador and it took 400 police to establish control.
“An investigation is underway over the deaths,” said state prosecutors.
“Six of the dead prisoners were decapitated, and the rest were stabbed or shot.”
Police have said that the fight was to gain control of section five of the prison where 19 of the bodies were found.
Footage showed prisoners firing from windows at the prison while some tried to escape the violence by climbing onto the roof.
Ecuadorian prisons have seen battles between gangs linked to Mexican drug cartels including the Jalisco New Generation gang that is the most powerful now in the North American country since the arrest of El Chapo’s who headed the Sinaloa cartel.
There were other serious outbreaks of violence in February and July of this year that left 79 and 22 dead, respectively.
AFP via Getty Images)
Authorities confiscated guns, grenades and explosives from an Ecuadorian prison last week and it is reported that drones were used in attack a fortnight ago at Guayaquil’s Prison Number 4 which did not lead to any fatalities.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has previously condemned the violence and Human Rights Watch urged Ecuador’s government to fully investigate the prison violence
and bring those responsible to justice.
President Guillermo Lasso in August said the government would provide more funding for the overcrowded prison system to build new wards and install new equipment to improve security.
But ex-president Lenin Moreno has called the situation a state of emergency.