Bloodbath in Ecuador – 44 dead in prison war

It was a gruesome bloodbath behind bars.

44 people were killed in a gang war in Bellavista (Ecuador) prison. Numerous cons took the opportunity to escape.

Fighting between rival gangs broke out on Monday morning. Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo said the victims were outright executed in the common rooms and cells. Most of the inmates, according to police chief Fausto Salinas, died from knife attacks.

The prisons in Ecuador are hopelessly overcrowded, and bloody murders keep happening. In the background the prison in BellavistaPhoto: RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP

The killers also used firearms, shooting their way out. A total of 220 prisoners managed to escape. The state reacted and pulled together heavily armed military units in addition to the police. The day after the bloodbath, all but 20 inmates were back in the building.

President Guillermo Lasso, currently on a state visit to Israel, made a statement after the mass murder. On Twitter he wrote: “This is the unfortunate result of gang violence.”

Ecuador is considered an important hub for drug smuggling from South America to the USA and Europe. Enemy gangs are fighting bitterly for dominance in the bloody business: 1,200 people have already been murdered in Ecuador in the first four months of this year alone. For comparison: In Germany, with its almost five times as many inhabitants, there were only 220 murders in the whole of 2021.

An unknown number of the 220 prisoners escaped through this hole.  The police caught almost all of them again

An unknown number of the 220 prisoners escaped through this hole. The police caught almost all of them againPhoto: RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP

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Prisons in Ecuador are bursting at the seams. The detention center in Bellavista is designed for 1,200 prisoners, but there are currently 1,700 people there. President Lasso recently issued a package of measures that includes pardons and more money for prisons to get the situation under control.

So far in vain: Since February 2021, almost 350 prisoners have been killed in the prison wars.


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