Ecuador prison riots Photograph:( Reuters )
n Ecuador's western port city of Guayaquil, 21 inmates were declared dead on Tuesday, 33 in Cuenca in the south and eight in Latacunga
Following one of the worst prison riots of Ecuador due to gang rivalry, nearly 75 inmates have been declared dead on Tuesday.
In Ecuador's western port city of Guayaquil, 21 inmates were declared dead on Tuesday, 33 in Cuenca in the south and eight in Latacunga in the centre of the South American country. This happened as gangs fought to gain control of territories for drug trafficking in the country.
Family members waited on the outside, hoping for some news about their loved ones who had been locked up in the prison.
"We want the death list given to us," said Daniela Soria, who was waiting outside the Guayaquil prison. "We know that the problems are not over because everyone there has a phone and my husband doesn't call me."
Soria told news agency AFP that the last time she heard from her husband was when he sent her a WhatsApp voice message saying, "They are going to kill me, get me out of here!"
The authorities have been trying to regain control of the three prisons where riots broke out. Meanwhile, Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno has said "criminal organisation" are responsible for these riots as they engaged in "simultaneous acts of violence in several prisons."
Police commander Patricio Carrilo also described the situation to be "critical", and the Interior Minister Patricio Pazmino described it to be a "concerted action by criminal organizations to generate violence in penitentiary centres."
As of now, it is being assumed that the riots started after someone killed the leader of a gang in the prison located in Guayaquil. The guards also seized two guns from the prison which were, assumably, used to carry out the murder.
"Inside, it is like a market. There is everything: drugs, arms, even puppies. Everything is sold," Soria detailed.