24 dead, 42 wounded in Ecuador prison fight: police

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) — At least 24 prisoners were killed and another 42 wounded in a fight between armed inmates in an Ecuador prison in Guayaquil, police said Tuesday.

The regional police commander, General Fausto Buenano, confirmed the toll via the official Twitter account of the government of Guayas province.

When police entered prison wing number five, where most of the violence was reported, they found the bodies of prisoners shot to death or killed when hand grenades detonated, Buenano said.

Ecuador’s prison system has about 60 facilities designed for 29,000 inmates, but is burdened by overcrowding and staffing shortages.

Prisoners linked to Mexican drug gangs often clash violently in the country’s jails.

Guayaquil, Ecuador’s main port city, is a major hub for shipping South American cocaine to points north, especially the United States.

Ecuador’s human rights ombudsman said there were 103 killings in Ecuador’s prisons in 2020.

Twenty-seven inmates were killed in prison riots in two jails in July, in an incident that forced the government to declare a state of emergency.

© Agence France-Presse