Ecuador Prison Riot That Killed 30 Is Only Second Deadliest This Year

A prison riot in Ecuador left 30 dead and dozens of others injured, but its only the second deadliest prion riot in the country this year.

The Ecuador national bureau of prisons (SNAI) first reported the incident on Twitter, saying that it occurred at the Litoral prison in Guayaquil, "due to fights between criminal gangs."

The Associated Press reported that the prison riot erupted after a dispute between the Los Lobos and Los Choneros gangs inside the prison.

Another tweet from SNAI, which was translated by Google, said that the incident involved "detonations of firearms and explosions." SNAI said that police and military officials were able to gain control of the riot after five hours of violence.

During a press conference outside the prison, officials initially said that 24 deaths occurred during the riot, but shortly after, they updated that number to 30. At least 47 others were injured during the riot.

After military and prison officials were able to gain control of the riot, Guayas state Governor Pablo Arosemena said during a press conference: "The presence of the state and the law must be felt," according to AP.

According to BBC, Police Commander Fausto Buenaño said that at least five inmates were decapitated during the riot, while others died from gunfire. Buenaño said that prisoners from one area of the penitentiary climbed through a hole and entered another wing, where they attacked other prisoners, the BBC reported.

A prison riot in Ecuador left at least 30 dead and dozens of others injured. Above, members of the military inspect a truck at the entrance of the Guayaquil Regional Prison after a confrontation that left 30 people dead on September 28, 2021, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Gerardo Menoscal/Agencia Press South/Getty

While speaking to the Washington Post on Tuesday night, Bolivar Garzón, Ecuador's director of prisons, said, "It's an unfortunate fact that this is happening in our society, in our country."

While the most recent prison riot left at least 30 dead and more than 40 injured, it is the second-deadliest prison riot in Ecuador this year.

According to the AP, in February, there were riots at three prisons that left at least 79 dead. Just last week, officials at one of Guayaquil's prisons confiscated several guns, ammunition, knives and homemade explosives from inmates, Al Jazeera reported.

Additionally, in July, the Litoral penitentiary experienced another riot that left over 20 inmates dead and prompted Ecuador's president, Guillermo Lasso, to declare a state of emergency.

"I want to tell the mafias that try to intimidate this country that they are wrong," Lasso said, according to AP. "They are wrong if they think our hand is going to shake. We are going to use all our legal powers to impose the rule of law and guarantee peace and human rights in prisons in Ecuador."

Newsweek reached out SNAI for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.