139 prison guards, officials still captive at Ecuadorian prisons

139 prison guards, officials still captive at Ecuadorian prisons
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Inmates at five prisons in Ecuador continue to hold some 125 prison guards and 14 administrative officials captive following riots and mutinies on Monday, the nation's jail management agency said Wednesday, Xinhua reports.

The captives were being held at prisons in the provinces of Azuay and Canar (south), Napo (center-north), Tungurahua, and Cotopaxi (center), and "the National Police and Armed Forces continue to work together" towards their release, according to the National Comprehensive Care Service for Adults Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders.

Rioting broke out after authorities confirmed on Sunday that Adolfo "Fito" Macias, the country's major drug trafficker and leader of the criminal gang "Los Choneros," had escaped from Regional Prison 8 in the southwest city of Guayaquil.

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa called on the military and police forces to restore prison order.

On Monday, the president declared a nationwide state of emergency to combat criminal activity, especially in prisons, amid an escalation in violence triggered by narco-terrorist groups vying for control of drug-trafficking routes.

On Tuesday, Noboa declared Ecuador was in a state of "internal armed conflict" after masked gunmen barged into a local television station and terrorized employees during a live broadcast, among a series of violent incidents across the country

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