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Another Ecuador prison clash leaves 43 inmates dead

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By AP
Soldiers guard outside Bellavista prison where a deadly riot broke out overnight in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, Monday, May 9, 2022.
Soldiers guard outside Bellavista prison where a deadly riot broke out overnight in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, Monday, May 9, 2022.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa

A clash between rival Ecuadorian gangs has left 43 inmates dead, officials said Monday, little more than a month after another prison riot resulted in 20 deaths.

Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo told a news conference that one group of inmates left their cells to attack another inside the Bellavista lockup in Santo Domingo, some 70 kilometres south 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.

Gen. Fausto Salinas, the incoming police commander, told Teleamazonas television that 40 inmates had been recaptured during escape attempts.

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 kilometres south of the capital.