Officials say at least 68 prisoners have been killed in new fighting at an Ecuadorean prison where more than a hundred inmates died in clashes between rival gangs in September.
The riot at the Litoral Penitentiary in the city of Guayaquil reportedly began on Friday evening.
Reports say police tactical units who have entered prison buildings have found guns, explosives and blades.
Family and friends of prisoners desperate for information gathered outside the building, where a list of victims’ names was taped to a post.
Authorities said the violence started as a territorial dispute between rival groups after a gang leader was released early.
The governor of Guayas province, Pablo Arosemena, told reporters; “As this section of the prison was without a ringleader, other gangs tried to… enter to carry out a total massacre,” .
He said there were about 700 prisoners in the area of the facility where the deadly riot was taking place.
In a short statement posted to Twitter, President Guillermo Lasso offered his condolences “to the families who have lost loved ones” and said new measures were needed to “fight the mafias that profit from chaos”.