On Friday, in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, six inmates were tragically killed in a jail, marking the latest episode of prison unrest. These inmates were suspects in the assassination of a prominent presidential candidate, as confirmed by officials.
They “are of Colombian nationality and were accused of the murder of the former presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio,” the National Service of Attention to Adults Deprived of Liberty (SNAI) said in a statement. The SNAI is Ecuador’s prison authority.
The statement came after Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso temporarily called off a visit to Seoul and returned from a trip to New York to handle the incident.
The country’s government has since condemned the prison killings.
Lasso ordered an immediate meeting of the Security Cabinet and assured “neither complicity nor cover-up” in getting to the bottom of the crime. “Here the truth will be known,” he said in a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
Earlier in the day, the SNAI released a statement informing the public about the prison killings, without confirming that they were the suspects in Villavicencio’s assassination case.
The public prosecutor’s office said that its agents, along with police and the military, were “executing security protocols… in light of the disturbance that occurred Friday afternoon.”
“In the coming hours, specialized military personnel will carry out the first raids and reconnaissance of Cellblock 7, where the incidents originated, to take control of the situation,” it added in a statement on X.
Prison riots are common in Ecuador where rival drug-trafficking gangs are also known to smuggle in weapons into prison. In July, a riot in the Guayas 1 prison left more than 30 people dead.