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At least 68 dead in latest prison violence in Ecuador


At the very least 68 inmates have been killed in one other ugly jail bloodbath in Ecuador, regardless of the federal government declaring a state of emergency following an earlier riot and sending closely armed law enforcement officials into jails to revive calm.

The most recent killings occurred in the identical jail — within the port metropolis of Guayaquil — the place 119 inmates died in September throughout brutal clashes between rival gangs. That was the worst jail bloodbath within the nation’s historical past.

One other 79 prisoners died in an analogous conflict in February and 22 in July.

The authorities have blamed the successive killings on a battle between rival gangs to manage drug-trafficking routes. Ecuador is sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest producers of cocaine, and Guayaquil is a recognized exit route for medicine.

The federal government says the feud was initially sparked by the homicide of a gang chief in December final yr.

The most recent clashes started on Friday night time when prisoners tried to maneuver from one a part of the jail to a different, utilizing explosives and firing weapons.

One picture from exterior the jail on Saturday confirmed law enforcement officials scaling a bloodstained jail wall in the direction of the roof, whereas the physique of a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit lay slumped.

Within the days after the September clashes, law enforcement officials stormed the Guayaquil jail and introduced it again below management. President Guillermo Lasso declared a six-week nationwide state of emergency to crack down on crime.

The most recent bloodbath is more likely to heap extra stress on him to do extra to take care of issues within the nation’s jails, that are overcrowded and the place sanitary situations are sometimes poor.

In a tweet on Saturday, Lasso mentioned the state wanted “appropriate constitutional instruments to guard the inhabitants, regain order in prisons and battle the mafias that revenue from chaos”.

The attorney-general’s workplace issued an announcement calling for “pressing measures from varied state establishments” to deal with the disaster. It mentioned 40 per cent of inmates in Ecuadorean jails had not been sentenced and it urged magistrates to think about alternate options to preventive custody to ease overcrowding.

Lasso, a millionaire former banker who got here to energy in Could, is already on the again foot after being named within the Pandora Papers over his offshore investments. He’s below investigation by each the attorney-general and congress, which might attempt to impeach him.

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