At least 11 “complete bodies” and dozens of body parts, including human heads, were recovered on Wednesday from a major prison in Ecuador, after days of deadly prison clashes.
The remains were collected at the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where violence first erupted on Saturday.
Thirty-one people are dead, according to a tweet from the Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday. However, the National Forensic Service of Ecuador has cautioned that the official death toll remains to be fully determined, as many body parts must still be identified.
Some of the victims appeared to have been beheaded, the National Forensic Service of Ecuador told CNN en Español Wednesday.
CNN has reached out to multiple government officials for updates or clarification on the number of deaths, with no response so far.
Ecuador’s prison system has long been the main theater of violence in the country, with hundreds of inmates killed in recent years as members of competing criminal organizations square off.
Security forces have often struggled to confront the gangs inside overcrowded prisons, where inmates often take control of branches of the penitentiaries and run criminal networks from behind bars, according to Ecuadorian authorities.
On Tuesday, Ecuador’s prison service announced that it had successfully executed an operation to extract prison guards taken hostage by inmates, freeing at least 106 guards across five different prisons.
“Our action continues…” the prison authority added on Twitter.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso has also signed a decree declaring a state of emergency across the country’s entire penitentiary system for the next 60 days.
Over the past two years, Lasso has named five different directors of the prison service, but none have proven able to reduce the violence.
Source : CNN