Ecuador’s president declared a state of emergency Thursday in the country’s prisons following fighting between rival gangs that killed 22 inmates and injured dozens, AP reported.
The violence began Wednesday afternoon at the main prison in the city of Guayaquil, the Litoral Penitentiary, as well as at the Latacunga prison in central Ecuador, authorities said. Officials said police had quelled the rioting and regained control of the prisons, and nine officers and 59 prisoners were injured.
Police said on Twitter there had been an escape attempt at Latacunga, but that 78 prisoners were recaptured.
Gustavo Larrea, a former interior minister, said the fighting was among crime groups linked to drug trafficking that have “relative control” of the prisons and seek to control illegal operations on the outside.
President Guillermo Lasso decreed a state of emergency Thursday afternoon.
Riots and deadly clashes in prisons in Ecuador are relatively frequent. In June, a fight between gangs in a prison killed two people and injured 11. In February, fighting in Ecuadorian prisons killed about 80 prisoners.