A gun battle between rival gangs early Saturday inside Ecuador’s largest prison located in the coastal city of Guayaquil left at least 68 inmates dead. Twelve additional inmates were injured .The fighting lasted for almost eight hours in the lockup in the coastal city of Guayaquil. Authorities think this was linked to international drug cartels. Inmates “tried to dynamite a wall to get into pavilion 2 to carry out a massacre. Police commander Gen. Tanya Varela said authorities using drones saw that inmates in three pavilions were armed with guns and explosives. The Attorney General’s Office, on its Twitter account, raised the death toll to 68 and said 25 other inmates were injured. The Constitutional Court’s recently refused to allow the military into prisons despite the state of emergency.
Authorities in Ecuador say a major problem is the access inmates have to guns, sometimes high-caliber, and ammunition which thet enter prisons by drone delivery. In the same prison more than 100 were killed just over a month ago. After that incident, Ecuador declared a state of emergency across the prison system for the second time this year amid rising violence. Authorities in Ecuador plan to deal with the prison overcrowding by granting pardons and relocating inmates. Colombia, the United States, Israel and Spain offered help to deal with the crisis.