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Clash between rival gangs kills 44 inmates in an Ecuadorean prison

Soldiers patrol outside Bellavista prison where a deadly riot broke out overnight in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, on Monday.
Dolores Ochoa
/
AP
Soldiers patrol outside Bellavista prison where a deadly riot broke out overnight in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, on Monday.

QUITO, Ecuador — A clash between rival Ecuadorian gangs killed 44 inmates, officials said Monday, little more than a month after another prison riot resulted in 20 deaths.

Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo said at a news conference that one group of inmates left their cells to attack another inside the Bellavista lockup in Santo Domingo, some 70 kilometers (45 miles) west of Quito, the capital.

"It's evident that those who lost their lives were executed by knives; most of the bodies had those characteristics," he said, and offered relatives help in transporting the bodies to their hometowns.

The minister said firearms, explosives and other weapons were found after police assault teams helped retake control of the prison.

Authorities said 220 prisoners escaped during the violence, of which 112 had been recaptured.

The human rights group Amnesty International reported in March that at least 316 prisoners died in clashes in Ecuadorian prisons during 2020 — including 119 who died during one riot in September of that year.

A month after that report was published, a clash between prison gangs armed with guns and knives left 20 people dead in Turi, about 310 kilometers (190 miles) south of the capital.

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