A relative of an inmate collapses as she waits for news outside the Litoral penitentiary after a riot, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. A police and military operation managed to regain control of the regional prison after five hours, according to a statement from Ecuador’s prison service, but reported at least 24 dead and 48 injured during the riot. (AP Photo/Angel DeJesus)

Gang clash at Ecuador prison kills 30 inmates and injures 47

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A battle between prison gangs in the coastal city of Guayaquil killed 30 inmates and injured 47, according to Ecuadorian officials.

Police Commander Fabian Bustos told reporters that a police and military operation had regained control of the prison after five hours. He said several weapons had been seized.

The violence involved gunfire, knives and explosions and was caused by a dispute between the “Los Lobos” and “Los Choneros” prison gangs, officials said.

Television images showed inmates firing from the windows of the prison amid smoke and the detonation of firearms and explosives. The Guayas state government posted images on its Twitter account showing six cooks being evacuated from one of the prison’s wings.

In July, President Guillermo Lasso decreed a state of emergency in Ecuador’s prison system following several violent episodes that resulted in more than 100 inmates being killed.

The bloodiest day occurred in February, when 79 prisoners died in a simultaneous riot in three prisons in the country. In July, 22 more prisoners lost their lives in the Litoral penitentiary, while in September a penitentiary center was attacked by drones leaving no fatalities.