Amid reports of a bloodbath at an overcrowded jail, authorities in Ecuador have identified the bodies of 38 people, including the two slain prison guards, and blame the deaths on “combative prisoners.”
The inmates of La Rue federal prison, located in the country’s northwest, reportedly attacked members of the security forces on Saturday afternoon, leaving 17 police officers and 12 inmates dead.
The killing has placed President Lenin Moreno under pressure to reform the prison system, which was notoriously neglected and over-capacity under his predecessor, Rafael Correa. The new president has promised to increase staffing and improve security in prisons, but lawmakers have so far been reluctant to send additional officers.
Government figures indicate that more than 1,000 inmates in La Rue federal, including many prisoners who have served most of their sentences, are ready to be transferred out of the prison. It was unclear if that process was underway on Saturday, but The Guardian reported that two of the dead guards had been attempting to assist other guards in separating prisoners from one another by moving them through the prison’s unused assembly hall, where they are housed.
Moreno added that he was going to convene a meeting of a group of former political prisoners to help him come up with “institutional alternatives” to prison that would be less dangerous for inmates and those charged with maintaining security in the system.
Read the full story at CNN.
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