Saturday, August 13, 2022

Ecuador declares state of emergency at three prisons

Image copyright AFP Image caption The riot was caused by shortages of food and water

The president of Ecuador has declared a six-month state of emergency at three prisons in the capital, Quito, after a riot left 116 inmates dead.

Lenin Moreno said that he had ordered the prisons’ wards to be completely evacuated as well as food and water stocks being taken from the facility.

A dozen have been reported wounded.

The riot happened in an abandoned jail in the coastal suburb of Comayagua.

“Myself and my government are deeply, deeply saddened by this tragedy,” President Moreno said.

“The saddest thing is that it took place during a time when we made important strides in society.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The riot happened in an abandoned jail in the suburb of Comayagua

“This shows that drugs continue to enslave, weaken and enslave families and destroy a country’s future.”

A police statement said that officers had recaptured 10 of the 16 inmates still at large after the riot that left 41 policemen injured on Saturday morning.

A separate investigation was launched into allegations that police attacked the prison’s perimeter at about 00:45 local time.

Officials said that when officers arrived at the facility, the prisoners were already armed.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Authorities confirmed at least 116 had died in the riot

Two police officers and eight officers were injured in a rescue operation that lasted more than 10 hours, according to Interior Minister Gustavo Larrea.

A total of 10,000 police and other personnel are being deployed in the prison, alongside an army force that was activated after the riot, Mr Larrea said.

“Some of those wounded are in a serious condition because they were hit with batons and there are confirmed reports of an injury caused by gunfire,” he added.

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