Officials say at least five of the dead were found beheaded.
Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, which would give the government powers including deploying police and soldiers in prisons. The order comes a day after a bloodbath at Litoral prison in Guayaquil that officials have caused by a gang war linked to an international drug cartel fighting for control of the facility.
Lasso, visibly moved by the massacre, told a news conference that what happened in the prison was bad and sad. He also said he could not guarantee that authorities had regained control of the prison.
“It is regrettable that prisons are turned into areas for power disputes by criminal gangs,” he said AP, Friday (1/10/2021).
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He added that he would act with “absolute decisiveness” to regain control of the Litoral prison and prevent the violence from spreading to other penitentiaries.
Images circulating on social media showed dozens of bodies in Pavilion 9 and 10 of the prison and what appeared to be a battlefield. In the gang war the inmates used firearms, knives and bombs, officials said. Earlier, regional police commander Fausto Buenano said that a body was found in a prison pipe.
Outside the prison morgue, relatives of inmates wept, with some describing to reporters the atrocities against their loved ones being killed, beheaded and dismembered.