Deadly fighting erupts again at Ecuador jail

A fight between rival gangs in a prison in Ecuador has left at least 13 inmates dead and two injured, officials said.

The deadly fight broke out just two months after 44 inmates were killed in a confrontation at the same jail in the city of Santo Domingo.

The authorities said they had regained full control of Bellavista prison.

Prison violence has shot up since February 2021 with more than 400 inmates killed in gruesome gang wars battled out behind bars.

Interior Minister, Carrillo, said that 13 bodies had been recovered following this latest deadly incident at Bellavista jail.

“It is likely that in the cell-by-cell search, more bodies will appear, but we don’t know for sure,” Mr Carrillo added.

The minister said that members of the R7 gang had targeted inmates who were in the process of setting up a rival gang.

While the gang engaged mainly in extortion and drug dealing, it was particularly influential in a number of prisons with R7 members reportedly behind an earlier deadly fight in Bellavista prison and another at Turi jail in April.

Interior Minister, Patricio Carrillo, said that the government was taking “the necessary measures” to strengthen the prison system by training up more than 1,000 guards and tackling “structural problems”.

Gang violence has surged in Ecuador in recent years.

The country was located between Colombia and Peru, the two largest producers of cocaine, and has become a key transit country for drugs smuggled from Latin America to the US.

Local gangs have increasingly become infiltrated by or aligned with powerful transnational crime syndicates and have adopted the gruesome tactics used by Mexican cartels such as decapitating and dismembering victims.

At least 44 inmates have been killed in Ecuador’s latest deadly prison riot, the public prosecutor has said.

A fight broke out between rival gangs, Los Lobos  and R7, at a prison in Santo Domingo, some 80km (50miles) west of the capital, Quito.

Ecuador was battling a wave of gang violence, and has recently seen its most deadly prison riots in history.

Parts of Ecuador were under a state of emergency because of the rising crime that has shocked the country.

A total of 108 inmates escaped the prison during the riot and remained missing, the local police chief said. -BBC

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