Authorities say most of the dead were inmates, though one prisoner was missing
Ecuador has identified the bodies of the 63 inmates who died in an apparent prison riot over the weekend, though one prisoner was missing.
Police said they had found the bodies wrapped in sheets.
The prisoners were found inside the prison building in the capital, Quito, after the rebellion on Saturday in which gunfire was heard across the city for hours.
It was the third riot inside Ecuador’s prisons in less than a year, and authorities were still investigating. It is unclear how much truth the riot was based on.
Jose Jhonnche, of the prison inspectorate, told the newspaper El Universo that the rioters were mostly inmates with small weapons, who were fighting against guards.
The trouble started after security was let inside the prison to check on two “dangerous” inmates.
“If these people had been allowed to do that it could have lasted several days, but they were not allowed in and the fight soon broke out and they were killed with shot gun shots,” Jhonnche said.
The director of the justice ministry, Angel Caceres, said a prisoner had escaped and not been found. Caceres added that none of the injuries in the building, or the other 85 inmates who were injured, were serious.
“The most important thing is that the country has a series of good prison reforms, and the provision of health and other social services that are necessary for any prison,” he told the newspaper El Universo.
According to El Universo, a man believed to be the leader of the rioters, Alexander Bello, died during the fight. He was previously accused of trying to escape prison and killed by security forces.
In 2017, six inmates died during a riot inside a prison in the northern city of Guayaquil and in 2018 two people died during a riot in Cuzco, which followed a renegade jailbreak there. In both cases, inmates locked themselves in their cells, and the resistance eventually broke down.
Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, recently visited Ciudad Altamirano, the jail that served as the base for the Guayaquil riot.
Mauricio Robelo, a legislator in the opposition Progressive Front party who represents the area, said prison reform had been a priority in the recently approved 2018 budget, including providing funds for more communications technology inside jails.
He said the government appeared to have ignored those recommendations.
“The people who commit these actions have a very negative relationship with the outside world, that have no affiliation to the state and can cause very serious events,” Robelo said.