Inmates at five prisons in Ecuador have held around 125 prison guards and 14 administrative officials captive in the wake of riots and mutinies on Monday Jan. 8, according to the nation’s jail management agency.
The captives were held at prisons in provinces of Azuay and Canar (south), Napo (center-north), Tungurahua, and Cotopaxi (center), according to the National Comprehensive Care Service for Adults Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders.
Intense rioting broke out after authorities confirmed on Sunday Jan. 7 that Adolfo “Fito” Macias, Ecuador’s major drug trafficker and leader of the criminal gang “Los Choneros,” had escaped from Regional Prison Eight in the southwest city of Guayaquil.
The next day, the president, Daniel Noboa, called for a nationwide state of emergency in a quest to combat criminal activity, as an escalation in violence was likely ignited by narco-groups fighting for control of drug-trafficking routes.
On Tuesday Jan. 9, Noboa declared it was in a state of “internal armed conflict” after masked gunmen stormed into a local television station during a live broadcast.
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