Americas

Police in Ecuador recapture 200 inmates after deadly prison riot

Authorities say 20 inmates still on the run

Laura Gamba Fadul   | 11.05.2022
Police in Ecuador recapture 200 inmates after deadly prison riot FILE PHOTO

BOGOTA, Colombia 

Police in Ecuador announced Tuesday that 200 inmates who escaped following a deadly prison riot were recaptured. 

"A total of 220 citizens escaped yesterday, and at this moment, we have recaptured 200," said police chief of operations Geovanny Ponce.

The prisoners escaped during a prison riot between rival gangs in Bellavista prison in the city of Santo Domingo which left 44 inmates dead, 39 of whom have been identified as Ecuadorians and two as Venezuelans. Three have not been identified yet, Ponce said, adding the government will offer rewards of up to $3,000 for those who provide information on the remaining 20 fugitives.

President Guillermo Lasso expressed his condolences for Monday’s deadly riot.

"My deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who died in the riot in Sto. Domingo prison. This is a regrettable result of gang violence," he said from Israel.

The killings at the Santo Domingo prison occurred a month after a prisoner riot at Cuenca City’s El Turi prison left 20 dead.

Some 400 inmates have died in Ecuador's prisons since February 2021, according to the government, due to rampant violence between criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking.

Since coming to power, Lasso has promised to reform the penitentiary system. The government has relocated dangerous prisoners as part of a series of measures including granting pardons to reduce widespread overcrowding. However, so far, these measures have been insufficient to curb prison violence.

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