| 2 October 2023, Monday |

Inmates free 57 Ecuador prison guards after stand-off

According to the prison service (SNAI), inmates in six Ecuadorian jails have freed 50 guards and seven police officers they had kidnapped.

According to SNAI, the 57 liberated hostages are “undergoing medical evaluation” but appear to be in excellent health.

Officials believe the kidnappings were organized by criminal organizations enraged by measures to limit their authority.

The gangs have also been implicated for two vehicle bombings that exploded near police headquarters in the capital, Quito.

Authorities suspect at least one of the events was in response to a police search for firearms at one of the country’s largest prisons.

Hundreds of police officers and soldiers carried out the search at Cotopaxi jail in Latacunga, about 55 miles (88km) south of Quito, as part of efforts to prevent further violence at the prison on Wednesday.

Normal activities have now been resumed in the six facilities, including a young offenders unit which was badly damaged by an arson attack. Officials have not offered any details as to how or why the officers were released.