Forty-one hostages held by inmates in Ecuador’s prisons have been released, bringing the number of people still in the hands of the mutineers to center thirty-six, the Ecuadorian Prison Administration (SNAI) announced on Saturday, January 13.

The SNAI did not provide any details on the circumstances of their release, but specified that one hundred and thirty-three guards and three civil servants remained taken hostage in the country’s prisons, according to a press release published late in the afternoon.

A previous bulletin reported one hundred and seventy-five guards and civil servants taken hostage since the unprecedented security crisis affecting this country ravaged by the violence of criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking.

The last twenty-four hours have been marked by new violence in the prisons, which left at least one guard killed and another injured, again according to the SNAI. “Armed clashes” between security forces and prisoners took place particularly at dawn in the Machala penitentiary (southwest).

At least nineteen dead in the violence

The army and police carried out “interventions to restore order and normality” in prisons in six cities, such as in Cuenca (south), where inmates climbed onto the roofs after gunshots were fired. heard inside the establishment. During the night, at least five prisoners also escaped from the Guayaquil prison complex. Two were taken back, according to the SNAI.

The announcement of the January 7 escape from the Guayaquil penitentiary (southwest) of the feared leader of the Choneros gang Adolfo Macias, alias “Fito”, provoked a wave of mutinies with hostage-taking in at least five prisons , attacks against law enforcement and other acts aimed at sowing terror. At least nineteen people were killed, according to the latest official report.

The young president Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency and ordered the army to neutralize these criminal gangs, now considered “terrorist”. More than 22,400 soldiers were deployed, with land, air and sea patrols, searches and all-out operations carried out in prisons, while a curfew was imposed.

After a wave of panic throughout the country caused by the live attack on Tuesday of the studios of a public TV in Guayaquil, the situation has returned to relative normality.