Inmates are seen on top of the prison roof during a riot at the Guayaquil Regional prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador. AFP
A riot in a penitentiary in coastal city of Guayaquil killed 29 inmates and injured 48 more on Tuesday after a battle between inmates equipped with firearms and grenades at a prison in Ecuador's largest city Tuesday, officials said.
A police and military operation managed to regain control of the Guayaquil prison after five hours, according to a statement from Ecuador’s prison service.
It was the latest in a series of deadly prison clashes between rival drug gangs that have killed over 100 inmates this year.
Guayas state Gov. Pablo Arosemena said at a news conference outside the Litoral prison that order had been restored. "The presence of the state and the law must be felt,” he said.
Relatives of inmates speak to the police asking for information during a riot at the prison in Guayaquil. AFP
President Guillermo Lasso retweeted an announcement from the prison bureau saying order "has been restored at the Littoral Penitentiary after the Tuesday incidents."
Ecuador's prison system has become a battleground between prisoners linked to Mexican drug gangs -- mainly the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels.
Guayaquil, Ecuador's main port city, is a major hub for shipping South American cocaine north, especially to the United States.
Last week police confiscated two pistols, a revolver, some 500 rounds of ammunition, a hand grenade, several knives, two sticks of dynamite and homemade explosives at one of the city's prisons.
A relative of an inmate collapses as she waits for news outside the Litoral penitentiary in Guayaquil. AP
Two weeks ago, drones, part of “a war between international cartels,” attacked Guayaquil’s Prison Number 4 prison authorities said. There were no casualties in the attack.
The bloodiest day occurred in February, when 79 prisoners died in a simultaneous riot in three prisons in the country. In July, 22 more prisoners lost their lives in the Litoral penitentiary, while in September a penitentiary center was attacked by drones leaving no fatalities.
The country's human rights ombudsman said there were 103 killings in prisons in 2020.27 inmates died in prison riots in two jails in July, in an incident that forced the government to declare a state of emergency.
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, on Twitter, attributed the riots to “criminal organizations” engaged in “simultaneous acts of violence in several prisons.”
During the incident at a jail in the Puente Grande complex, three people were killed by firearms and four others died from beatings, Jalisco's prosecutor Gerardo Octavio Solis said in a press conference.
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The driver who caused the incident sustained moderate injuries after hitting a policeman.
This includes suspending the entry of travellers who were in these countries 14 days before coming to the UAE. Flight operations will continue to transport passengers from the UAE to these seven countries.