Ecuador crisis: 42 persons held hostage freed or escaped

Around 136 prison staff members remain hostages in different prisons.

The SNAI prisons agency announced on Saturday that 42 prison staff members who had been taken hostage by inmates at Ecuadorian prisons during a surge of violence had managed to get free or flee.

They were part of 178 guards and administrative workers who had been seized by prisoners since Monday in at least seven prisons across the country, where a security emergency is unfolding.

The SNAI stated that there had been clashes at several prisons, including a gunfight with inmates at the prison in El Oro province that claimed the life of a guard. Another guard was wounded and still inside the prison, the statement said.

One guard had gotten away from his captors at a prison in Loja, while 41 prison staffers had been released, it added.

The police and the military were still conducting operations at prisons and nationwide. More than 800 people have been detained since a state of emergency started on Monday.

Ecuador is facing a security crisis that deteriorated this week with the live broadcast of a TV station being raided, mysterious explosions in various cities and the abduction of police officers.

The government said that armed groups were responding to President Daniel Noboa’s efforts to address the grave security situation.

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