The death toll from a riot at one of Ecuador's largest prisons rose to 116, President Guillermo Lasso said on Wednesday, adding that he would send additional security forces and free up funds to avoid a repeat, APA reports citing Reuters.
Another 80 inmates were injured during the Tuesday night clashes at the Penitenciaria del Litoral in Guayas province, which has been the scene of bloody fights between gangs for control of the prison in recent months.
"It is unfortunate that criminal groups are attempting to convert prisons into a battleground for power disputes," Lasso told reporters in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city. "I ask God to bless Ecuador and that we can avoid more loss of human life.
The director of Ecuador's penitentiary system said on Wednesday that the death toll from a prison riot had risen to at least 30 and that authorities were still working to recover 10 bodies, APA reports citing Reuters.
The South American nation on Tuesday night reported clashes at the Penitenciaria del Litoral in Guayas province, which has been the scene of bloody fights between gangs for control of the prison in recent months.
Six of the victims of the clash - the third deadly prison riot in Ecuador this year - were beheaded.
"We have around ten more corpses that at this moment are being removed, with the coordination of the police and the prosecutor's office," Bolivar Garzon, head of the SNAI prison service, told reporters outside the jail.
The number of people injured in the riot rose to 52 from 48, Garzon said.
Dozens of people arrived at the jail to seek information about relatives and demand accountability on the part of officials responsible for the inmates' safety. The government bolstered military presence outside the facility.
Riots broke out in February and July in the country's prison system, which houses some 39,000 inmates. At least 79 people died in the February violence, and in July at least 22 lives were lost.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has previously condemned the violence, and Human Rights Watch urged Ecuador's government to fully investigate the prison violence and bring those responsible to justice.
President Guillermo Lasso in August said the government would provide more funding for the overcrowded prison system to build new wards and install new equipment to improve security.