Jail Riot in Ecuador
At Bellavista Prison, a penitentiary in Santo Domingo, approximately 80 kilometers west of Quito, a clash allegedly erupted between rival groups Los Lobos and R7. Ecuador is dealing with a surge of gang violence and just had its worst jail riots in history. Parts of Ecuador are in a state of emergency as a result of the country’s shocking increase in crime. According to the local police chief, 108 convicts fled the prison during the incident and are still missing.
He stated that a further 112 convicts escaped before being apprehended. The incident injured several people, however, the exact number is unknown. The incident was prompted by a brawl during the transfer of a prisoner identified as Anchundia into the penitentiary. He is alleged to be one of the ringleaders in a previous prison riot that occurred in April.
Outside the prison, images show bleeding convicts being taken from cars to ambulances. As word of the ruckus went throughout the community, many families gathered outside the jail, distraught and waiting for news. President Guillermo Lasso expressed his sympathies to the families of those killed, calling it an “unfortunate result of gang violence.”
Ecuador’s Interior Minister, Patricio Carrillo, tweeted saying that the administration was working “to overcome the problems of the prison system, but it is complex to find quick solutions in an environment of… violence.” Since February 2021, about 400 convicts have been slain in six consecutive riots.
Aftermaths of this Riot
Several convicts tried to escape during the assault. After 112 escaped convicts were caught, Police Chief Fausto Salinas told reporters that 108 individuals were still unaccounted for. The South American country’s jail authority reported that “security protocols to contain the disturbances to order have been activated.” Interior Minister Carrillo initially told the media that only two inmates had been killed before increasing the number to 41 at a press briefing.
One of the most fatal incidents ensued in September 2021, when 119 prisoners were killed at a penitentiary in Guayaquil, Ecuador. In less than two months, at least 68 prisoners were killed in a new fight at the same facility. The brawls are considered to be especially severe, with inmates being slashed to death or decapitated with machetes.
In reaction to the violence, three western provinces – Guayas, Manab, and Esmeraldas – announced a 60-day state of emergency last month. Bellavista Prison is not located in any of these regions.
President Lasso, who assumed office in May of last year, has blamed Ecuador’s crime issues on drug trafficking. The Andean country is a transit route for cocaine transported from neighboring Peru and Colombia. Major Mexican drug cartels are alleged to work via local gangs in Ecuador. He has vowed to beef up the police force and pardon criminals convicted of minor offenses in order to relieve the congestion being experienced in the prison system, but opponents believe he has lost control of the issue.