At least 29 inmates are dead and many wounded after a riot erupted in a prison in western Ecuador on Sunday night, officials there say.
National Security Ministry spokesman Fabio Correa said the riot began after 5 p.m. local time, in units housing inmates with “erratic behavior,” according to The Guardian.
Correa also said 30 inmates are still being treated for injuries.
The riot began around 5:30 p.m. after dozens of prisoners rebelled against the head of the prison, Interior Minister Jose Serrano said.
After government officials left the prison, the riot continued.
Security forces entered the prison as reinforcements arrived and “neutralized” the situation, authorities said.
Tensions have been at high levels in the Nacional Prison this year, Correa said.
Protestors held several protests in the prison in May to support staff as they demanded better conditions, the Guardian reported.
Officials hope the riot will be “a clear signal that this type of violent confrontations cannot continue,” Serrano said.
The head of the president’s justice commission, Justice Minister Gustavo Noguera, earlier told the newspaper El Universo that the riot “is the aftermath of the recent violent confrontation.”
He added that there was an increase in violence at the Nacional prison, saying, “We have exhausted all possible possibilities in that prison.”
“We’re not saying it’s a failure of every, single, cell,” Noguera said. “There are some cells that have never allowed an incident.”