Ecuador to ramp up prison intelligence to curb melees
QUITO, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso said Tuesday that his government will strengthen intelligence systems in the country's prisons to head off violent clashes, following a prison riot that left 20 inmates dead on Sunday.
"We are going to strengthen prison intelligence to avoid more of these events ... five, 10, 20, 30 or 100 criminals cannot keep a country in distress," Lasso told journalists.
The president deplored the incident at Turi prison in the city of Cuenca, where clashes broke out between criminal gangs vying for power, leading to some 850 police and military personnel taking control of the prison.
Lasso said emphasis will be placed on transnational gangs dedicated to drug, human and arms trafficking.
"We have made a very harsh decision," he said, after announcing "a much more thorough sweep" of weapons, explosives and other artefacts in prisons.
Sunday's riot was the first in 2022, following a wave of violence in 2021 that left 331 inmates dead in the serious crisis facing Ecuador's prison system.