Thu, 22 February 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Ecuador: All 178 prison staff held hostage freed

Update : 14 Jan 2024, 10:49

All 178 prison officials taken hostage by inmates in Ecuador have been freed, the prisons authority on Saturday, amid a deteriorating security situation in the South American country.

According to the SNAI prisons authority, the 158 guards and 20 administrative staff members who had been held hostage since Monday were now free.

There were reports of violence in several prisons. Within the last 24 hours one guard was killed and another injured, the SNAI said in a statement.

While the army and the police raided detention centers in six cities, five inmates escaped from the vast Guayaquil prison complex on Friday.

State of emergency declared

The incidents came after Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency for 60 days on Monday, a day after Adolfo Macias, leader of the Los Choneros criminal gang, disappeared from the prison where he was serving a 34-year sentence.

Ecuador saw a spate of nationwide attacks within hours of Noboa's announcement, including gangsters taking several police officers hostage.

Masked gunmen also burst onto the set of a live broadcast by a public TV channel, while there were reports of explosions in several cities. 

President Noboa declared that the country was "at war" and refused to "cede in the face of these terrorist groups."

In November, when the 35-year-old came to power, he vowed to "restore peace" to violence-plagued Ecuador.

Authorities said over 800 arrests have been made so far.


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