At least 40 people were killed in a prison riot Tuesday night in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s capital, according to Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno.
An official in the country’s prison system told press that most of the fatalities occurred in a bathroom and that the prisoners who died were not killed in the fighting, but died later due to their injuries.
Security forces fired tear gas into the jail to break up the riot that was started by prisoners and fighters from rival criminal groups. Protesters, who had gathered outside the prison, blocked the road that leads to Guayaquil international airport.
So far, the fatalities have been identified by local media as up to 40 prisoners, but authorities did not specify how many of the fatalities were individuals who were assaulted or killed by the gun fire. The death toll did not include three police officers who were injured.
Police officer Ilva Montoya was among the protesters. According to an account by a Times reporter, she told the Times’ Lisa Knapp that one of the inmates had tried to escape but was shot dead, followed by those killed in the bathroom. A prisoner then opened fire on police officers.
In the videos above, you can see the moment when security forces opened fire in the jail. According to witnesses, police officers entered the jail through a hole in the wall and began firing into the joint from inside. Authorities said the shooting ended, but CNN reported that the fighting was continuing.
I spoke with @LisaKnapp and @Tessering_CNN near the scene of the shooting this morning — read our report here >> https://t.co/JXYM7YcDnQ pic.twitter.com/EeGznZqcW4 — NYT Metro Desk (@NYTMetro) June 13, 2018
The inmates of the prison were on a biannual cell assessment, and that fact that the latest count was for only 32 prisoners could have been a factor in the violence. Prison riots in Ecuador are common.
President Moreno said that he had suspended the director of the prison, adding that his patience had run out with how long he had to wait to address the issue. On Wednesday, the government launched a new special investigation into the events, which will be overseen by the government.
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