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Death toll in Ecuador prison riot rises to 116, six decapitated By Reuters


© Reuters. An ambulance driver is being checked by soldiers at Penitenciaria del Litoral, after several prisoners had been killed in the riot that occurred in Guayaquil (Ecuador), September 28, 2021. Picture taken September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Vicente Gaibor del Pino


QUITO (Reuters) -The death toll from a riot at one of Ecuador’s largest prisons rose to 116, President Guillermo Lasso said on Wednesday, adding that he would send additional security forces and free up funds to avoid a repeat.

Another 80 people were hurt in clashes that took place at Penitenciaria Del Litoral in Guayas. The prison, which is the site of violent fights among gangs to control it in recent months, was also damaged.

Lasso said to reporters that “criminal groups” are trying transform prisons into power battlegrounds in Guayaquil. I ask God for His blessing on Ecuador so that more human lives can be saved.

This was the worst act of violence reported by Ecuador’s penitentiary. Similar incidents occurred in several prisons in the country, in July 2021 as well as February 2021. At most 79 victims died during the violence in February and at least 22 people were injured in July.

Numerous people came to the jail seeking information on their relatives, and demanding accountability for officials in charge of the safety of the inmates. Military presence was increased by the government outside of the jail. Lasso assured that assistance would be provided to the loved ones of the injured and deceased inmates.

On Wednesday, the South American prosecutor stated that six of those slain at Penitenciaria Del Litoral were decapitated.

Human Rights Watch has urged Ecuador to investigate and prosecute those who are responsible for the violence in prison. The violence was condemned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Lasso said in August that more money would be provided for overcrowded prisons to construct new wards, and new security equipment.

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