The death toll represents a significant uptick from previous estimates after Tuesday’s bloody clashes at the Litoral Penitentiary, located on the outskirts of the coastal city of Guayaquil.
In a televised speech on Wednesday, Lasso indicated that the prison was not yet fully secured and urged relatives and relatives of inmates to stay away from the area.
“I wish I could now say yes, we have the Litoral Penitentiary fully insured, but frankly I can’t. This meeting we just had was to organize the next steps forward, and I hope that in the next few hours you will see. Some of the plans we agree on in action, ”he said in a televised speech.
Lasso also said more bodies could be found in the next few hours.
The Ecuadorian prison agency SNAI had previously reported detonations and “fights between criminal gangs” in one of the prison’s pavilions.
The dead and wounded were wounded by bullets and grenades, according to regional police commander Fausto Buenaño.
“The inmates are calling us (saying) ‘Sister, they are killing me. Call the police, they have to enter ward (prison wing) five,” the sister of one inmate told Reuters.
At least five of the deceased prisoners were beheaded before the police responded and the tactical forces “managed to restore order,” Guayas province governor Pablo Arosemena said Tuesday.
Ecuador’s prisons have been ravaged by bloodshed this year, with more than 140 violent deaths reported, according to SNAI figures.
In response to the latest deaths, the government has declared a 60-day state of emergency in Ecuador’s prisons. The measure allows the deployment of military troops in prisons and limits inmates’ rights to privacy and free association to allow searches and other surveillance measures.
The state will dedicate $ 24 million to the prison system during the state of emergency, Lasso added during his speech.
Report contributed by Abel Alvarado and Sharif Paget of CNN in Atlanta, Ally Barnard in Hong Kong and Ana Maria Canizares in Quito, Ecuador.