Ecuadorian President calls ‘crisis cabinet’ after prison violence leaves dozens dead

A relative of an inmate cries as she waits for news about her loved one after 58 convicts were killed in a riot at the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on November 13, 2021. - Ferocious clashes have left 58 inmates dead in an Ecuador prison, police said Saturday, in the latest unrest at a Guayaquil jail that was the scene of a September riot which killed 119 prisoners. (Photo by Fernando Mendez / AFP) (Photo by FERNANDO MENDEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) — Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso has called a “crisis cabinet” after at least 68 inmates were killed in prison clashes on Saturday, according to an official statement of the president’s office.

The move comes after the Ecuadorian prosecutor’s office asked the government to take “urgent measures” to address the situation, according to a post on the agency’s official Twitter account.

Prosecutors said “68 prisoners were killed and another 25 wounded” in the violence that broke out Saturday at the Litoral Penitentiary, one of Ecuador’s largest prisons in the coastal city of Guayaquil, the same facility that saw 118 people killed in clashes in September.

Ecuadorian police began activating security protocols Friday night after reports of gunshots and possible confrontations between inmates at the prison, according to Guayas Governor Pablo Arosemena in an announcement posted to the official Facebook page of the Guayas Province government.

The deadly clashes appear to be an instance of gang violence, according to the governor, who said inmates “not only used weapons and detonations, but they tried to suffocate [other prisoners], burned mattresses, and more.”

Ecuador’s prison system has been under a state of emergency since September’s deadly clashes. More than 300 inmates have been killed in prison violence this year, according to figures from Ecuador’s prison service SNAI.

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