Another prison riot at Bellavista leaves 13 dead
At least 13 inmates were killed Monday in a riot at the Bellavista prison in Santo Domingo. The violence comes just two months after another 44 died in gang warfare at Bellavista.
The penitentiary system administration said that seven prisoners were injured during the riot and are being treated at a hospital in Santo Domingo, where the prison is located, 70 kilometers west of Quito.
On Tuesday, authorities said the situation inside the prison was under control.
The riot comes despite a truce declared May 17 between gangs operating in Ecuador’s prisons. At the time, leaders of four gangs, Los Tiguerones, Los Lobos, Chone Killers and Latin Kings, announced their intention to stop violence among gang members serving prison sentences. Later, four other gangs, Los Lagartos, Los R7, Los Choneros and Los Águilas, joined the agreement.
Over the past two years, more than 300 inmates have died in gang violence within Ecuador’s prisons. All gangs involved in the violence have connections with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels and are involved in drug transport operations in Ecuador’s port cities.
Ironically, the government announced last week that overcrowding in the prison system had been reduced from 27 percent to 8 percent since December. In addition to gang conflict, officials blamed overcrowding for the prison violence.