Battle among Ecuador prison gangs kills 68 inmates

Quito: A prolonged gunbattle between rival gangs inside Ecuador's largest prison killed at least 68 inmates and wounded 25 on Saturday, while authorities said clashes were still uncontrolled hours later at the Litoral Penitentiary, which recently saw the country's worst prison bloodbath.

The killing erupted before dawn at the prison in the coastal city of Guayaquil in what officials said was the latest outbreak of fighting among prison gangs linked to international drug cartels. Videos circulating on social media showed bodies, some burned, lying on the ground inside the prison.

In the initital fighting, which lasted eight hours, inmates tried to dynamite a wall to get into Pavilion 2 to carry out a massacre. They also burned mattresses to try to to drown (their rivals) in smoke, said the governor of Guayas province, Pablo Arosemena.

We are fighting against drug trafficking, Arosemena said. It is very hard.

Presidential spokesman Carlos Jij n said late in the afternoon that we have information that new clashes are reported in the Litoral Penitentiary ... the inmates of Hall 12 attacked those of Hall 7, attempting to take control.

He said about 700 police officers were trying to control the situation, with a contingent inside the prison.

He did not clarify whether authorities had regain control of the compound or say whether there had been any more casualties.

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