Panic ensues as dozens of prisoners die in prison riot in Ecuador

Two children look at makeshift morgue in the prison of Eneko, some 105 miles northwest of Quito, Ecuador on Jan. 1, 2016. (Andrew Matthews/AFP/Getty Images)

Authorities in Ecuador say a total of 39 people were killed in a prisoner uprising at a prison.

Authorities say 53 people were injured, and about 50 were being treated in the medical center, according to Agence France-Presse.

The violence erupted at the Lucas Garcia prison, located in the province of Cojedes, located to the south of Quito, which is the capital. Three prisoners died in the riot in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Various state security officials have also been arrested.

Later, on Wednesday, President Lenin Moreno issued a statement, pledging that “squalid prisons” in Ecuador will be made more secure and said he will do what is necessary to improve security. “From now on a new concept [will be created] in the prisons, giving prisoners that protection,” he said.

He also said that he would offer financial incentives to families of those who will be arrested who have been missing a loved one.

According to Carlos Romero, an official with the local public prosecutor’s office, two inmates died and at least 21 inmates were wounded in the riot. A total of 36 people were arrested after the prisoners’ uprising on Wednesday morning. Romero also said that authorities had tried to negotiate with the prisoners, but failed. However, a witness to the violence said that the inmates had attacked guards trying to break up the fight.

“They beat the guards with sticks, stones and a hammer,” one resident told local media.

The inmates of the Lucas Garcia prison have held a hunger strike for eight days, demanding better conditions. The women in the prison have been facing new restrictions to their food and other basic goods, though the men managed to have their food rations increased.

Read the full story at AFP.


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