Quito, Feb 23 (EFE) .- The death toll in the riots that occurred this Tuesday in Ecuador has risen to 62 people, reported the head of prisons, Edmundo Moncayo, who attributed them to quarrels between at least two criminal gangs fighting for control of prisons.
Director of the Service of Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI), Moncayo explained that 33 prisoners have died in the jail of the city of Cuenca, another 21 in that of Guayaquil and 8 in that of Cotopaxi, as well as an undetermined number of injured, since the verifications in the penitentiary centers still continue.
In a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Quito, he indicated that the dispute is probably due to the vacuum that was generated between the gangs inside the prisons, after the death last December of an inmate who was released and who, apparently, was leading a dreaded organization known as “Los choneros”.
José Luis Zambrano, alias “Rasquiña”, was assassinated in the coastal city of Manta shortly after his release, and his death would have awakened the ambition of other criminal gangs within the penitentiaries.
“We expected an immediate reaction but the reaction has been delayed and is what has occurred today between two groups trying to find criminal leadership,” explained Moncayo.
The brawl took place in parallel in the three prisons, which concentrate, according to the official, “70%” of the prison population of the entire country, and to whom military reinforcements had to be alerted to help control the situation.
In its preliminary report, it also pointed out that the riots occurred after a search carried out the day before by prison personnel, who found firearms with which, presumably, it was intended to attack leaders of one of the gangs in dispute.
The situation in the three prisons of Cuenca, Guayaquil and Cotopaxi, out of the 60 prisons in the country, has already been controlled, and the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office has begun investigations into the case.
In the morning, during the program “In Front with the President”, the Ecuadorian president, Lenín Moreno, had indicated that he had authorized the “progressive use of force to ensure the safety of citizens who are in a state of seclusion. “.
(c) EFE Agency