Ecuador prison riot claims at least 86 lives

Evo Morales Photo: Madeleine L’Etoile/AFP/Getty Images An emergency has been declared in the Central Prison of Ecuador after dozens of inmates were killed in a prison riot. The local police have moved in to…

Ecuador prison riot claims at least 86 lives

Evo Morales Photo: Madeleine L’Etoile/AFP/Getty Images

An emergency has been declared in the Central Prison of Ecuador after dozens of inmates were killed in a prison riot.

The local police have moved in to try to quell the unrest. They say about 130 people have been injured.

The emergency measures allow inmates, relatives and the general public more access to the prison.

President Rafael Correa says he will visit the site of the riot, in the town of Ubinas, on Sunday.

Hopes of a peaceful solution to the crisis appeared to be dashed on Saturday, when rioters smashed windows and entered the prison, local media reported.

Authorities have said at least 86 inmates are dead.

They put the figure lower on Saturday, saying 50 people had died.

The prison authorities said the fire started in the area of the kitchen, forcing inmates to flee, according to local media.

Clashes broke out between rival gangs in the cells on Saturday afternoon after inmates refused to return to their cells following a protest, said the prison’s governor, Gonzalez Velez, in a radio interview.

He said about 15 prisoners later died in the kitchen before the rest were injured.

“Then we had a number of patients die [from] their injuries, and in the kitchen area we had armed and explosive exchanges,” he said.

An earlier report said the first dead had been identified as police guards who had earlier fought with prisoners.

Violence broke out on Wednesday night in the prison, adding to a rise in violence in the local jails in recent months.

Last month, authorities said at least 20 inmates had been killed and another 81 injured when inmates clashed in the central Guayaquil prison, which houses both male and female inmates.

In another prison riot in October 2017, some 80 inmates were killed in the Neiguan department of Ecuador, including 24 who died in a fire at San Francisco prison.

In the previous month, a riot in the National Penitentiary Centre in Concepcion left five dead.

Drug gangs are among the main causes of prison violence in the Andean nation.

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