At least 24 inmates died and a further 42 injured in clashes between police and inmates of an Ecuador prison that lasted nearly six hours, authorities said on Tuesday.
Ecuador’s prisons authority, SNAI, said “incidents with detonations of firearms and explosions” were registered in a prison in the port city of Guayaquil at around 9:30 am (1430 GMT).
SNAI said that the incident began when fights broke out between criminal gangs in the prison.
Police teams were deployed to regain control of the penitentiary shortly after, entering the prison at about 10:40 am.
The authorities took back control of the prison around 2 pm.
At least 24 people were killed in the clashes, including five people who were beheaded, said National Police’s Fausto Buenano.
Police said a preliminary search of the prison hauled two firearms, 18 blades, 102 bullets and drugs, among other prohibited items.
There have been repeated violent clashes in Ecuadorian prisons in recent months.
In September, suspected gang members attacked the Guayaquil penitentiary with armed drones while in July, a total of 21 people were killed in riots in prisons located in Cotopaxi and Guayaquil.
In February, 79 people were killed in violent clashes between rival gangs in several prisons.