Gang fight at Ecuador prison leaves 68 dead

New fighting at Guayaquil jail kills 68
Desperate relatives are again waiting outside the prison for news of loved ones. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: At least 68 prisoners have been killed in new fighting a prison in Ecuador where more than a hundred inmates died in clashes between rival gangs in September, officials say.

The riot at the Litoral Penitentiary in the city of Guayaquil reportedly began on Friday evening.

Police tactical units who have entered prison buildings have found guns, explosives and blades, reports say.

Nearly 300 inmates have died so far this year in the country’s prisons.

September’s gang-related violence was the worst in Ecuador’s history.

At the time, inmates from one wing of the prison crawled through a hole to gain access to a different wing, where they attacked rival gang members. Hundreds of officers and army soldiers were deployed to regain control of the complex.

The deadly fight, which saw some inmates decapitated, drew attention to the growing influence in Ecuador of transnational crime gangs such as the Mexico-based Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels.

The latest fighting at the prison in Guayaquil, Guayas province, has also left 25 people injured and follows a smaller armed clash earlier this month in which three inmates were shot dead.

There were reports of further violence at the prison later on Saturday and soldiers were deployed as reinforcements, securing the outside of the facility in armoured vehicles.

Family and friends of prisoners desperate for information gathered outside the building, where a list of victims’ names was taped to a post.

Authorities said the violence started as a territorial dispute between rival groups after a gang leader was released early.

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