At least 75 inmates died this Tuesday in Ecuador in a chain of violent clashes in three prisons, attributed to a dispute between two gangs for prisons’s control.The death toll corresponds to the last official count offered this Tuesday night by the Service for Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI) totaling 75 deaths.
In the Turi prison in the city of Cuenca, about 470 kilometers south of the Ecuadorian capital, 33 inmates died, while 34 lost their lives in the Guayaquil prison and another 8 in the Cotopaxi prison, about 80 kilometers from Quito. Dozens of wounded were also registered, but there was not yet a confirmed figure because until dusk the ambulances continued to enter the prisons to remove the injured and deceased, as EFE was able to verify in the Guayaquil prison.
At a press conference in Quito, the head of prisons, Edmundo Moncayo, attributed the riots to quarrels between at least two criminal gangs that dispute control of the prisons, which is probably due to vacuum of power that was generated after the murder in December past of an inmate who had been released, José Luis Zambrano, alias Rasquiña.
Alleged leader of a feared organization known as “Los choneros”, “Rasquiña” was assassinated in the coastal city of Manta, which would have aroused ambition to assume power from other criminal gangs within the penitentiaries. “We expected an immediate reaction but the reaction has been delayed and it is what has occurred today between two groups trying to find criminal leadership, “explained Moncayo.
The brawls occurred in parallel in the three prisons, which, according to the official, concentrate “70%” of the prison population of the entire country, where there are about 60 prisons.
In his preliminary report, Moncayo also indicated that the riots occurred after a search carried out the day before by prison personnel, who found firearms with which, presumably, it was intended to attack leaders of one of the gangs in dispute.
“We are working to determine that our hypothesis has strong premises that help the Prosecutor’s Office have as much information as possible, which allows us to bring those who devised this action to the orders of the judicial authorities,” Moncayo said.