(UnitedVoice.com) – The US has extremely secure prisons, leaving little opportunity for large-scale riots. Though outbreaks of violence have happened in the past, it’s not a common occurrence. Officials in Ecuador cannot say the same thing about their country’s detention facilities.
On Tuesday, July 25, 2,700 soldiers entered the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil. The military members took back control of the facility from the prisoners who began a gang war the weekend prior. Later that day, authorities reported at least 31 people died in the riot. Fourteen people suffered injuries in the violent uprising. Prisoners took roughly 120 prison officers hostage in six jails around the country. They were later freed.
According to reports, the inmates at Guayas 1 used guns to take control of the facility. They also set fires using gas tanks that were on the property. Rival gangs began fighting one another while they had control of the prison. Officers seized a grenade launcher, four pistols, nine rifles, two revolvers, and 1,000 rounds of ammunition when they regained control. Officials are opening a terrorism probe based on the amount of weapons and ammo they found.
The prison is severely overcrowded and currently contains more than 5,600 prisoners. Authorities said they are opening a murder investigation over the 31 deaths. At least one of the victims was beheaded.
President Guillermo Lasso issued a state of emergency for 60 days across the prison system. The president posted a message on Twitter, telling his citizens that they can “move forward and recover” the peace that gangs destroyed. He went on to say everyone would have to “be more united than ever to win [the] battle.”
The same day Lasso issued the emergency declaration, two staffers and 15 prison guards were taken hostage at a local jail in Esmeraldas. In the town, police were also attacked, and someone placed bombs at gas stations.
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