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U.S | Ecuador prison clash leaves at least 15 dead, 20 injured English Headline


QUITO, Ecuador — A clash between inmates armed with guns and knives inside the Latacunga prison in central Ecuador on Monday left at least 15 people dead and 20 injured, authorities said.

Officials attributed the fighting to national and international drug trafficking groups which have turned the Andean nation’s prisons into the scene of repeated massacres as the groups fight for power and drug distribution rights.

Prison guards leave the premises of the Regional Sierra Centro Norte Cotopaxi prison in Latacunga on Oct. 3, 2022.
Prison guards leave the premises of the Regional Sierra Centro Norte Cotopaxi prison in Latacunga on Oct. 3, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images

Ecuador’s national penitentiary service confirmed the death toll in the Latacunga prison, located 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the capital of Quito. Agents are still searching the prison’s pavilions for bodies.

Videos in which gunfire and the screams of inmates can be heard were posted on social media.

Family members of inmates wait outside the penitentiary for news on their loved ones, in Latacunga, Ecuador on Oct. 3, 2022.
Family members of inmates wait outside the penitentiary for news on their loved ones, in Latacunga, Ecuador on Oct. 3, 2022.

Soldiers sit in a truck outside the penitentiary, in Latacunga, Ecuador on Oct. 3, 2022. REUTERS/Karen Toro
Soldiers sit in a truck outside the penitentiary, in Latacunga, Ecuador on Oct. 3, 2022. REUTERS/Karen Toro

An ambulance leaves the social rehabilitation center Regional Sierra Centro Norte Cotopaxi, in Latacunga on Oct. 3, 2022.
An ambulance leaves the social rehabilitation center Regional Sierra Centro Norte Cotopaxi, in Latacunga on Oct. 3, 2022.

Some 316 inmates were killed inside Ecuador’s prisons last year, according to the penitentiary service. So far this year there have been 90 deaths. The worst massacre took place in September of last year in the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil, where 125 prisoners were killed.

Ecuador’s prison system is designed for about 30,000 people, but some 35,000 inmates were held in 53 state prisons as of last month.



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