Dozens of inmates escape from prison in Ecuador

While Ecuador is facing a wave of violence and chaos, dozens of inmates escaped from a prison.

A prison break in northern Ecuador left 43 inmates on the run, the SNAI prisons agency reported on Monday, while security forces carried out nationwide operations to restore order.

Last week, President Daniel Noboa announced a 60-day state of emergency, which included a night-time curfew and the classification of 22 criminal groups as terrorists.

The surge of violence in the country – which involved armed men invading a live TV news show, blasts in various cities and the abduction of police officers – seems to be a reaction to Noboa’s initiatives to tackle Ecuador’s grave security situation.

After around 200 guards and administrative staff were held hostage by inmates in at least seven prisons over the weekend, police and military forces were deployed to all jails in Ecuador.

SNAI said in a statement on Monday that some 2,000 security agents performed a search operation in a prison in Esmeraldas, a city near the Colombian border, from which the inmates escaped.

“The inspection revealed that 48 inmates had fled,” the statement said, adding that five of them were caught again.

SNAI also said that one inmate had died in the prison, without providing more information.

The government said that security forces have arrested more than 1,500 people and have executed 41 operations against terrorist groups since the state of emergency was declared.

The government said in another statement that the operations will go on throughout Ecuador this week.

“The objective is clear: to show no mercy to those who have terrorized and harmed citizens,” the government said.

Noboa, who was elected last year with the promise of improving security, has vowed to keep gang leaders locked up in new maximum-security prisons, among other actions.

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