Gang clash at Ecuador prison kills 24 inmates and injures 48

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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A riot in a penitentiary in coastal city of Guayaquil killed 24 inmates and injured 48 more Tuesday, Ecuadorian officials said.

A police and military operation managed to regain control of the Guayaquil prison after five hours, according to a statement from Ecuador’s prison service.

Guayas state Gov. Pablo Arosemena said at a news conference outside the Litoral prison that order had been restored. “The presence of the state and the law must be felt,” he said.

The violence involved gunfire, knives and explosions and was caused by a dispute between the “Los Lobos” and “Los Choneros” prison gangs, officials said.

Television images showed inmates firing from the windows of the prison amid smoke and the detonation of firearms and explosives. The Guayas state government posted images on its Twitter account showing six cooks being evacuated from one of the prison’s wings.

In July, President Guillermo Lasso decreed a state of emergency in Ecuador’s prison system following several violent episodes that resulted in more than 100 inmates being killed.

The bloodiest day occurred in February, when 79 prisoners died in a simultaneous riot in three prisons in the country. In July, 22 more prisoners lost their lives in the Litoral penitentiary, while in September a penitentiary center was attacked by drones leaving no fatalities.

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