At least 62 inmates died on Tuesday in a series of riots that occurred in three prisons in as many cities in Ecuador, according to the country’s head of Prisons, Edmundo Moncayo, who attributed the riots to quarrels between at least two criminal gangs vying for control from jails.
Moncayo, director of the Service of Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI), detailed that 33 prisoners had been confirmed dead in the jail of the city of Basin, another 21 in that of Guayaquil and 8 in that of Cotopaxi, as well as an undetermined number of wounded, since the verifications in the penitentiary centers were still continuing.
At a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Quito, Moncayo indicated that the dispute is probably due to the vacuum that was generated between the gangs inside the prisons after the death last December of a prisoner who was released and that, apparently, He ran an organization known as “Los choneros”.
José Luis Zambrano, alias Itching, was murdered in the coastal city of Manta shortly after his release, and his death would have awakened the ambition of other criminal gangs within the penitentiaries.
“We expected an immediate reaction but the reaction has been delayed and is what has occurred today between two groups trying to find leadership criminal, “Moncayo explained.
The brawl occurred in parallel in the three prisons, which, according to Moncayo, concentrate 70% of the prison population of the entire country, and those who should have been alerted military reinforcements to help control the situation.
In his preliminary report, Moncayo also pointed out that the riots took place after a search carried out the day before by prison personnel, which found Firearms with which, presumably, it was intended to attack leaders of one of the gangs in dispute.
The situation in the three prisons of Cuenca, Guayaquil and Cotopaxi, out of the 60 prisons in the country, has been controlled, and the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office has begun investigations into the case.
Hours before, during the program Face to face with the President, The Ecuadorian president, Lenín Moreno, had indicated this Tuesday that he had authorized that “force is used progressively to ensure the safety of the citizens who are in a state of seclusion. ”