At least 18 die in Ecuador prison riots

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At least 18 prisoners have been killed and dozens injured, including several police officers, in riots in two prisons in Ecuador, the agency in charge of prison control reports.

Wednesday night's incidents were in Prison 1 in the coastal province of Guayas, near the port city of Guayaquil, and in the Andean city of Cotopaxi, near the city of Latacunga, the National Service of Comprehensive Attention to Adults Deprived of Liberty and Teenage Offenders (SNAI) said on Twitter.

In the Guayas brawl, the SNAI reported eight dead inmates and three wounded members of the police, who have been transferred to hospitals.

It added that another riot was reported in the Cotopaxi prison that left at least 10 inmates dead, another 35 inmates and six officers injured, as well as damage to the administrative areas of the prison complex.

The authorities reported that the situation in both prisons was under control after the entry of special groups of police.

Hours earlier, journalistic sources had reported that the riot in the Cotopaxi prison had included detonations, probably of firearms.

A police officer indicated at the time that some officers had been detained by inmates when they tried to help the staff.

In recent years there have been severe clashes between opposing gangs in Ecuador prisons.

In April, confrontations between two gangs of prisoners spread to four detention centres in Guayaquil, Cuenca and Latacunga.

They left some 80 inmates dead and around 20 injured, which generated a fierce debate about the alleged weaknesses of the penitentiary organisations to control the country's prisons.

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