At least 116 are dead and 80 injured – all of them locked-up – in a prison in Guayaquil as a result of clashes between rival gangs in what would be the third riot of 2021 in this penitentiary. On all three occasions, there has been disputes between criminal gangs with the aim of taking control of a prison pavilion.
The first riot took place in February and ended with 79 fatalities. In July, the second riot ended with 22 deaths. This third has had the worst consequences.
The No. 1 Detention Center in Guayaquil, Ecuador, was the scene of clashes in which grenades and all kinds of weapons were used. Authorities declared a state of emergency throughout the entire prison system.
Authorities also reactivated security protocols in all prisons in the country in the face of the possibility of new riots spreading through the system. Once the prison returned to a sense of normalcy, officers found corpses with bullet wounds, others mutilated or beheaded, and severed limbs with signs of grenade explosions in the prison pavilions.
Hundreds of relatives of the inmates approached the prison due to lack of official information.
Prisoner advocacy organizations such as Human Rights Watch called on the Ecuadorian government to investigate and identify those responsible for the violence in the prisons.
They also point to the overcrowding of inmates in prison as a key factor in explaining these levels of violence. They argue that all prisons in Ecuador are far above their capacity and do not allow for life in decent conditions.
Other prisoner rights organizations, such as the Alliance Against Prisons, believe that such serious events do not happen without a long history behind them, in which the state itself has a high degree of participation and responsibility.
However, they add that there is a high level of corruption among prison officials and call for serious questioning regarding the origin of the weapons used in these bloody events.