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Riot leaves 31 dead and 120 held hostage as gangs slay prisoners ‘like rats’

One prisoner has been beheaded and 30 others are dead after a prison riot saw a brutal brawl break out betweengangsters.

Ecuador’s violence-riddled Guayas 1 houses 5,600inmates and became the epicentre of the mass murder over the weekend.

The country is a key player in South America’s cocaine trade, anddrug-related riotsare a regular occurrence between prison gangs.

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Many of Ecuador’s prisons are overcrowded and understaffed with one committee appointed by president Guillermo Lasso, describing them as “torture centres”.

Guayas 1, in the nation's second-largest city, Guayaquil, holds some of the nation's most violent thugs, from gangs such as Los Choneros, Los Lobos, Los Tiguerones and Latin Kings.

Police and the army entered the jail and have reportedly regained control following the brutal clash which unfolded on Saturday.

In that time however, at least one inmate was beheaded while 30 others were murdered and another 14 wounded.

Convicts also took over 120 guards hostage, while a dozen were still being held against their will on Wednesday according to the BBC.

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Nine rifles, a grenade launcher, four pistols, two revolvers and 1,000 rounds of ammunition were seized at the scene, officials reported.

Families of those locked up in Guayas 1 hoarded outside the prison walls looking for any news about the safety of their loved ones inside.

A distraught wife of one of the inmates said: “It's as if [the inmates] were rats. They are human beings!”

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Now, to curtail the brutal violence, the Ecuadorian government issued a decree on Tuesday announcing a 60-day state of emergency in all of its prisons.

A murder investigation and terrorism probe has been opened, due to “explosions and the quantity of weapons and ammunition found inside the prison”, according to officials.

At least 420 lives in Ecuadorian prisons have been claimed since 2021 with many of the victims beheaded, burnt alive or shot.

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