Latest Ecuador prison riot leaves at least 11 injured

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Police stand guard during a prison riot in Guayaquil

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) – A prison riot in Ecuador’s coastal city of Guayaquil on Wednesday has left at least 11 inmates and police officers injured, the SNAI prison authority said in a preliminary report, just days after a deadly riot at another jail.

Violence plagues Ecuador’s prison system, with eight major clashes leaving 373 dead since February last year, SNAI data showed.

The most recent deadly riot, at a prison in the city of Latacunga on Monday, saw at least 16 prisoners killed.

Police remain within Guayaquil’s Penitenciaria prison “restablishing order”, SNAI said on Twitter.

“The official report from authorities shows six prisoners and five police officers have been injured,” it said, adding that the prison itself also sustained damage.

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The officers were wounded by firearms while trying to restore order, police said.

The same prison was the scene of one of Ecuador’s worst prison riots which left 122 prisoners dead in September 2021.

The government attributes the violence to gangs fighting over territory and drug-trafficking routes.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has said Ecuador’s prison system suffers from state abandonment, inconsistent policy and poor living conditions.

The prisons house some 33,500 inmates and exceed maximum capacity by 11.3%, official figures showed.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Additional reporting by Yury Garcia in Guayaquil; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Christopher Cushing)